Sajeewa Nuwan keen to compete at the Commonwealth Games | Sunday Observer
Bronze medalist at the World Military Boxing Meet

Sajeewa Nuwan keen to compete at the Commonwealth Games

24 October, 2021

“I am a village boy who reached international standards after a hard journey,” Lance Corporal Sajeewa Nuwan, a Lance Corporal in the Sri Lanka Army, told the Youth Observer. Nuwan won a bronze medal at the World Military Games in Russia recently.

“During my school days I was an athlete, not a boxer. I did not know the game or its rules. Neither did my school have facilities for boxing. As such I never had any thought of becoming a boxer,” he said.

“So, how did you become a boxer,” I asked him.

“After leaving school I joined the Army. During my training days I was involved in many activities and learnt a lot of things. I also found that sports was well established in the Army, which is the best breeding ground for sports in the country. I too thought of getting involved in sports and my immediate choice was a combat game like boxing. I did not know anything about boxing and it was very hard at the beginning. However, practised hard and became a good boxer,” he said.

Sajeewa’s father was involved in the martial arts in his youth. This may have influenced him to take to boxing.

“Maybe combat sports was in my genes. I loved to train wearing a pair of gloves and a sports kit. Within a few months I became well-known as a fearless boxer in my regiment.

“My coaches helped me to develop my skills, especially tactics and speed. I trained very hard. I followed the attitudes and tactics of international boxers which helped me to improve my standards. The coaches of my regiment too helped to polish my skills. One day they invited me to take part in an inter-regiment boxing meet,” he said.

At the inter-regiment boxing meet he performed well and was selected to the Army national boxing pool.

“Being selected to the pool was a watershed in my boxing life. I was in the light flyweight category. I knew that there are good boxers in and outside the army. So, I trained hard to perform well at the national level. As a soldier I have good morale to fight my opponents. My coaches told me that boxing is only a game and not a war and that my opponents are also sportsmen,” said Sajeewa.

“Every sportsman has to be disciplined. But as a soldier I have to be more disciplined than others. I fight with civil boxers as a boxer and not as a soldier.

“Amateur boxing is a scientific game. The winner is selected on points. A boxer has to maintain his strength, endurance and have deft footwork and the ability to read the opponent’s mind to win the game. As a soldier I was trained to read others’ minds,” he said.

With regard to winning a Bronze medal at the World Military Boxing Meet in Russia, he said, “That was my first international medal. During that meet I had a good chance to show my talent. However, I could not win against the Brazilian which put paid to my hopes of winning a higher medal. However, I will never forget this event as it was my first international medal,” Sajeewa said.

Sajeewa is the national champion in his weight category - light flyweight.

“This is a very competitive weight category in Sri Lanka. Every fighter in this category is a skillful boxer. However, I will never give up the game and will fight to the best of my ability. A couple of years ago I took part in the South Asian Games in Nepal.

“Now I hope to compete in more international games such as the Asian and Commonwealth Games. Those games will be held next year. I hope to sharpen my skills and give my best at those Games. I believe that we can win international medals in boxing. Several boxers have won medals at international meets in the past. If we train hard we can do it again.

“As an Army boxer, I have enough facilities in my unit and the Army Sports Club. I have a few more years of amateur boxing before I hang up my gloves. During this time, I hope to bring glory to the country and the Army by winning medals in the international arena.

“I thank the Army Commander, Director of Sports in the Army, the president and secretary of the Army Boxing Club, the Commander of my regiment, the coach of the army boxing pool and officials of the army for helping me on my boxing journey. I also thank the President of the Boxing Association, Dian Gomes and officials for guiding me.

Pix - Jagath Iroshana and file photos courtesy facebook