Sports helped us enter university, say six hockey players | Sunday Observer

Sports helped us enter university, say six hockey players

9 January, 2022

Sports activities are beneficial to everyone, six Visakhian hockey players told the Youth Observer. The six girls represented the Visakha Vidyalaya hockey team last year and all of them passed the GCE Advanced Level examination with high marks.

The Youth Observer caught up with them to discuss how they balanced sports and studies. I first spoke to Nilshi Jeewandara who has qualified to enter the medical faculty of the Moratuwa University. During the discussion she spoke about her successful balanced path between education and sports.


Left home before 4 a.m. to attend practises - Nilshi Jeewandara

“I live in a rural area in Kirindiwela. We are not rich people and I travelled to school by bus. On the days I had practises I leave home at around 3.50 a.m. My mother or one of my brother’s accompany me to the bus stop. I have to be in school by 6 a.m. Practises end before 7.30 a.m. Then we go to the classroom. Sometimes I could not concentrate and I used to fall asleep in the classroom.

“However, my coach Anurudha Herath Bandara sir told me to keep a balance between sports and education. I always followed his guidelines.

“My mother wakes up at 2 a.m. to prepare our breakfast andour lunch. I had to overcome big hurdles playing hockey.

“Talking about the game, a hockey player must hit the ball very quickly after she gets the ball to the most suitable place or player. One has to make quick decisions. This has helped me to find quick answers to problems in life.

“In the Ordinary Level exam I obtained a distinction for every subject. Then I had a dream to become a doctor and I followed the biology stream in the Advanced Level. “In early days in the Advance Level class, striking a balance between studies and sports was very difficult.

“The grades that I got in the term tests were not high in the early days. But I never gave up my studies and tried to balance between the two to the best of my ability. I got three A passes and qualified to enter the medical faculty of the Moratuwa University. I believe that my success was due to sports,” she said.


Taught me to overcome hurdles in life - Uvani Abeysinghe

“I started playing hockey in inter-school meets when I was in Grade five. In the early days sports was not a hindrance for studies. We had plenty of time to strike a balance between studies and sports. I love to play hockey. My mother and my relatives encouraged me to take up hockey.

“In my childhood, I had a life goal to pass the Ordinary Level examination with nine As and the Advanced Level examination with three As and enter the Management Faculty of the Colombo University.

“After I began playing hockey I understood the benefit of this game. In the early days of the Advanced Level class, I felt that sports may affect my studies but I did not want to give up the sport. My classmates and teachers helped me to sort out my problems.

“I think that to be successful, you should be involved in more than one thing. It will definitely lead you to success.

“This sport taught me that. I learned how to cope under pressure and find the solutions for problems in life. I thank my coach Anurudha sir who taught us how to lead a balanced life.

“I was the Prime Minister in the student Parliament at Visakha Vidyalaya in 2020. It was a proud era in my school life and I proposed that every parent must permit their children to take part in sports,” she said.


Helped me enter the university Devranga Gunathilaka

“I joined Visakha in Grade one and started playing hockey when I was in Grade seven. Earlier I was involved in swimming but after I took to hockey I continuously remained with that game.

“I learnt a lot of things through this sport. Determination, inspiration, balancing studies and sports, and handling pressure were some of the things that I learnt from this sport.

“Some people told me that if I had not played hockey, I would not have qualified to enter the university. That may be true. Now, I too believe it.

“If I had only concentrated on studies I would have been stressed out and would have been unable to pass the Advanced Level examination. I felt very relaxed when I was on the grounds with my teammates. When I came to class after practises I was able to concentrate on my studies. That is the secret of my success in school life.

“Sports also helped me to obtain very good results at the Ordinary Level and the Advanced Level examinations. I have been selected to enter the Management Faculty of Kelaniya University.

“Anurudha sir is the key person who helped me to build determination in my mind and he also gets big credit for my personal victory,” she said.


Hockey showed me the way to higher studiesSeshadi Bamunusinghe

“I entered the Visakha Vidyalaya after I passed the Grade five scholarship examination. I played hockey in inter-house meets. Then Anurudha sir asked me whether I would like to attend hockey practises of the school team and I readily agreed.

“In early days of the game practice our coach told us we must balance our life between education and sports. He told us that without sports life would not be complete.

“Balancing studies and sports was not a big challenge for me. I passed the O/L very easily with distinctions in all subjects and followed the math’s stream in the Advanced Level class. I passed the Advanced Level with flying colours and was selected to the Sri Jayawardenapura University.

“I thank Anurudha sir for my achievements. I believe without sports this would not have been easy for me.


Sports showed me the path to KDUBinari Dayarathne

“I live in Kotikawatta. I was involved with several sports like football, elle and hockey. However, my main sport became hockey after I played hockey in the inter-house tournament.

“I was also a member of the hill climbing society and the social welfare society. In spite of these extracurricular activities I performed well in my studies. At the Ordinary Level examination I obtained eight As and one B pass.

“Then I decided to follow the math’s stream. I passed the A/L exam with one B and two C passes. I was selected to Jaffna University for Physical Science and Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) for Engineering. KDU considered my sports ability when selecting me.

“Without sports I would not have been able to enter KDU. I thank my coach for teaching us how to balance sports and studies well,” she said.


Achieved most things through the game Dewmini Weerasinghe

“I have been selected to the Management Faculty of Colombo University. I believe that hockey helped me to enter the university.

“I was in Visakha in Grade one but I started playing hockey when I was in Grade seven. Hockey is a hard game but it helps to build morale. Sometimes we get injured and blood keeps streaming out, but we never gave up fighting for our team and our school.

“Even when we lost a match we were not disheartened and took it smoothly. Our coach taught us that sport is not only about winning that we must be prepared to lose as well. It taught us a very big lesson.

“Day by day this sport taught us how to strengthen the mind. After I passed the Ordinary Level examination I entered the Advanced Level and obtained three A passes. Then I was selected to the Management Faculty of Colombo University.

“I believe this achievement was due to sports. Every child must be involved in one sport or other at school. We hope to play hockey at university level as well. I thank my coach for introducing us to this sport and teaching us how to balance the two paths well,” she said.

Pix – Jagath Iroshana