Tashiya Piyadasa: carries forward table tennis legacy | Sunday Observer

Tashiya Piyadasa: carries forward table tennis legacy

5 September, 2021

Tashiya Piyadasa, the elder daughter of former top table tennis player Thilina Piyadasa now plays table tennis in the USA.

Her father, Thilina was eight-time national champion in Sri Lanka till 2007. In 1996, while in school, he was selected as the most talented table tennis player.

Tashya’s mother Rifka Kamil is also a table tennis player who captained the Sri Lanka table tennis team in 1997 and was felicitated as the most talented schoolgirl player at the Milo awards ceremony in 1996.

The Piyadasa family is now settled down in the USA where his elder daughter is displaying her talent in table tennis which she has undoubtedly inherited from her parents.

She is now the TT champion in the USA in her age group.

The Youth Observer discussed with her father regarding his daughter’s TT prowess.

“Tashiya is my elder daughter. She is eleven years old. I think she put in special effort to win the title at a national level tournament in the under-11 age group and we are proud about it,” said Thilina.

Tashiya has a younger sister - Tiyana.


“I first met Rifka in 1995 when we were studying in the Advanced Level class. Both of us were keen on table tennis and it drew us close to each other. I can say it was a very deep love. I was in the Commerce stream while Rifka was in the Maths stream. After passing the Advanced Level examination, she entered Peradeniya University while I entered Sri Jayewardenepura University. We married in 2006 after obtaining our degrees.

“Then my wife won a scholarship to the USA in 2007 and both of us travelled to the USA and later settled down there. Then we had an addition to the family. We named her as Thashiya. She is our elder daughter who was born in 2010.

“When she was five, I tried to teach her to play table tennis, but she was not keen on it and my attempt was unsuccessful and we did not put any pressure on her to take up table tennis. However, when she was about seven, she decided on her own to take up table tennis.

“I was her first coach. One day I met Udaya Ranasinghe, a former Sri Lanka national TT champion, who was from my school Vidyartha College, who had also settled down in the USA and he volunteered to coach my daughter. Under his tutelage, Tashiya trained hard, followed the coach’s advice and took part in several TT tournaments,” he said.

At the National Junior Table Tennis championships in June she was placed first in the under-11 category and has been graded at No. 4 in the under-13 category. She has also received a TT scholarship.

Younger daughter

Speaking about his younger daughter, he said, “She also loves to play TT. I am very proud that both of them have taken up the game of their parents. She began to play TT about one-and-a-half years ago. She is now nine years old and has been rated at No. 6 in the under-11 age group in the USA national TT tournament. As a former TT player I hope my two daughters will have successful IT careers.

The Junior TT championship in the United State of America was held in Las Vegas city. “My elder daughter won the under-11 age category in that tournament and my younger daughter Tiyana also finished that tournament as No. 8 in the under-11 age category. She was defeated by the girl who ended as the runner-up in that age category. That was a milestone in her career.

“Today our elder daughter’s coach is an Olympic TT gold medalist in the USA. She is Shao June, a well-known coach and the president of the California Table Tennis club.

“Our daughters study in the same school. Our elder daughter has to move to another school when she attains 15 years of age. According to the USA system on reaching 15 all students must focus on studies and not on sports. However, they can take up spots again after they complete their education.

“At present our two daughters, while being involved in sports, have not neglected their studies. I think both of them can succeed in both fields as they have good skills. I hope they go far in TT as world class players. Unfortunately, we are not in our motherland and my daughter will represent another country.

“Although they were born in the USA their roots are in Sri Lankan culture. We teach them Asian values at home. As former table tennis champions both of us are happy that our children have taken after us, Thilana Piyadasa said.