Shehan Hansaja Sirisoma, a promising ruggerite | Sunday Observer

Shehan Hansaja Sirisoma, a promising ruggerite

23 January, 2022

On hearing of a promising rugby player in the Central Province, who displays his talents not only in rugby but also in several other sports, the Youth Observer called him and discussed his sports career.

“I am a Trinitian who loves sports,” he said in a proud tone.

Q: At what age did you start sports activities?

A: I got involved in sports when I was around eight years old. At first I was an athlete and then I took to swimming. After a few years my father asked me to play rugger. Until then I was not interested only in athletics.

Q: Why did your father ask you to play rugger?

A: I think it must be because of his love for rugger. He played rugger during his school days and later yearned to play club rugger but was unsuccessful.

Q: So he pushed his unaccomplished dream onto your shoulders?

A: No. He never forced me to take up rugger.

“The master-in-charge of rugger in my school, noticing my running speed as an athlete, asked me whether I would like to join the rugger pool. I then remembered that my father had a dream to play club rugger and I discussed this with my family and decided to take up rugger,” he said.

Athletics career

“In the early days of my childhood I ever won any events in athletics at school level. But I never stop being involved, because I saw my progress and I believed that one day I will become a good athlete. However, I started swimming, which was another sport I loved to participate in,” he said.

“In 2008 I won first place swimming the backstroke at the inter-house meet. I won second place in the dolphin event the following year at the inter-house meet. I also took part in the breaststroke and won second place.

“In that year I also participated in the 50-metre freestyle and novice and age group swimming meets in the Central Province,” said Shehan.

At that time he was involved in three sports - athletics, swimming and rugger.

“It is very hard balancing three sports. I focused on rugby and represented my college,” he said.

Shehan also took part in Rippa Rugby, an inter-class tournament and his class became champions in 2009.

“I also became the champion athlete in the inter-house athletics meet and set a new record in the Standing Broad Jump,” Shehan said.

After a year, he succeeded in becoming the swimming champion in the Central Province. Then his team became the Cup Champion in the Sri Lanka Schools rugby tournament. In the all Island rugby tournament in 2017 he was selected as the Best Player.

“I am very proud about it. I was always determined to perform well for my college and made many sacrifices. But I did not neglect my studies. In 2018, I passed the GCE Ordinary Level with three As, four Bs and two Cs. Other than rugger, my aim is to become the best athlete in the country and also perform well in my studies.

“I will be sitting the GCE Advanced Level examination next month in the Commerce stream. I would like to become a banker or take up a job in the logistics field. However, these days I was busy with my school rugby team. I know it could hinder my studies. However, I cannot give up my responsibility to my school. After the Advanced Level examination I will not come back to school and before leaving school I must complete my responsibility to my school. So, I am fighting with time and trying to balance everything with sports,” Sehan said.

For this performance Shehan won school colours in 2019 and also won events at the John Tarbet Cup meet in 2017.

Trinity College awarded him the Best Junior Sportsman in 2012 and Middle School in 2017.

“I was a good high jumper but after I took up rugger I did not focus on Athletics. I was also a junior prefect. I wish to live as an exemplary man in society. This is what I learned through sports, education and family,” Shehan said.