My mother was a silent contributor to my success – Thilaka Jinadasa | Sunday Observer

My mother was a silent contributor to my success – Thilaka Jinadasa

1 May, 2022

Thilaka Jinadasa was the first Sri Lankan female who represented the country at the Olympic Games in our sports history. She was also a member of the winning team at the Asian Netball Championship.

During the heyday of her career she was known as a heroine in sports circles. Her family was behind her in all her achievements. Especially her mother and father who were like a shadow behind her. Her mother Wimala Jinadasa passed away recently following a brief illness.

The Youth Observer met Thilka Jinadasa and to talk about her mother’s contribution to her success.

Q: My deepest sympathies on the passing away of your mother. I like to start about your mother’s influence on your career?

A: Yes. I lost my mother last week. She lived over nine decades. Although I am sad about her loss, I am happy about her contribution as a mother in my life. That is the reality of life. Everybody has to die one day. We must accept that reality. I am very fortunate that my mother lived this long. However, I must say that she was not a tyrant. She gave us a lot of freedom and was a huge influence in my life.

Q: At the time you took to athletics, our society frowned on girls taking part in sports activities. How did your mother react when you showed interest in athletics?

A: My parents did not object to my becoming an athlete. My father was a sports lover and was always behind me. My mother did not care for society’s opinions. She always believed that correct guidance would help to build a strong personality.

The other thing is that there were five children in our family and she was a working woman. Due to this she did not have the time to be behind me all the time.

I am the fourth in the family and I have two elder sisters. They took care of me. Altogether there are four girls in the family. My mother got up early every morning, prepared breakfast and lunch for all of us and rushed to work. It was a hectic time in her life. But she cared for us. She did not try to force us to do what we did not want to do. She was a great mother indeed.

Q: How did your mother react when you achieved success in sports?

A: My mother did not come to see me perform at athletics meets, but prayed and blessed me. I think she was a very broadminded woman. She was a giant shadow not only for me but also to my siblings.

Q: I wish to ask you a personal question. Did not your mother pester you to get married?

A: Well she asked me to do so several times. She said that after she dies that I would have to face life alone. But I explained to her that notion was wrong. Whether you get married or not, one will get sick and die one day. After a few decades my mother stopped talking about marriage altogether. She was a very understanding person.

Q: She was known to be a calm person in her old age. Was she like that when she was young?

A: Yes. My mother was a very calm lady. She lived a very happy life with my father. Both of them were never aggressive towards each other. She applied that method for us too. You have seen her normal attitude and not artificial behaviour.

Q: You have travelled to several countries and most of your siblings are overseas. Did not your mother encourage you to migrate?

A: No. My mother has never forced me. She always told me to stay in my motherland. I have lived overseas for short periods several times. For example I lived in Australia for around one year and stayed in Brunei for several years. But, I never want to stay there for good. Because my mother also influenced me that she always believed that the motherland was the best place to live. The other thing is as an athlete I have a good reputation in my country.

Q: You lived with your mother during the past decades. Now that she is gone,how will you cope?

A: It is a difficult period in my life. But as an athlete who balanced my life I can face the unknown future. That is the reality.

Without my mother at home I feel sad. Fortunately, most of my relatives live close by and my sports culture and my career path as a coach will help me to bear it. My mother knew I had built up a better life path and my brother and sister helped to build it too. I wish to say a few words about my parents. I thank my mother and my father who helped me to be what I am today. I am proud of them and always hope they will be my parents in my next life.