Long-jumper Sarangi elated at success in Geneva | Sunday Observer

Long-jumper Sarangi elated at success in Geneva

26 June, 2022

Long-jumper Sarangi Silva won a gold medal at the International Athletics competition in Geneva, Switzerland recently.

She won that medal for her jump of 6.33 metres. With this success she improved the 2022 World Championships qualifying average points from 1157 to over 1170. She has so far managed to be among the first 32 positions in world rankings.
The Youth Observer called her to discuss her success.

Q: Sarangi, Geneva is a well-known city for Sri Lankans in a negative way as the United Nations Human Rights Commission holds its annual summit in this city and the Sri Lanka Government is facing human rights issues with the Commission. However, you changed that mindset recently. I like to start the discussion on that point.

A: I performed well and won a gold medal in Geneva. It is a very valuable milestone for me.

Q: In this meet you jumped 6.33 metres. But it was not your personal best. What do you have to say?

A: Yes. That was not my best. But that victory is a valuable advantage for my athletics career. Especially as a field event representative I won in the international arena and it has helped to develop faith in my ability.

Q: You also won in Poland recently. Could you say something about the meet?

A: Yes I participated in the ORLEN Memoriał Janusza Kusocińskiego Meet in Poland. I leaped 6.35m and won sixth place. This competition is categorized as a ‘World Athletics Continental tour – Gold’ meet.

Q: Do you think you will be selected to represent the country at the World Athletics Championships to be held this year?

A: Well I am trying to get selected. It is not an easy task. The meet will be held in the USA from 15th -24th July.

Q: Your coach Y. K. Kularathna has said that you will jump more than 6.75 metres easily one day. He suggests that talented athletes be trained in Europe. What have you to say to that?

A: My coach is correct. There are many barriers in our country for athletes to find success. For one, the competition level is not high. It affects the development of our personal skills. But in Europe, there are many meets and it will help to improve our standard.

Q: You went to Europe all of a sudden. Do you hope to stay there and continue your training?

A: I got an opportunity for a one-month training session in Turkey recently. During the training I had the chance to compete at several meets in the Europe circuit. Those opportunities were most valuable for me as an athlete.

Q: OK. Will you qualify to take part in the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham this year?

A: I think my past skills will help me find a place in the Sri Lanka contingent to Birmingham and I hope the European experience will help me to perform well in future meets.

Q: Not only the Commonwealth Games but the Asian Games too will be held this year. However, as a small country, Sri Lanka finds it difficult to win medals in major meets. In such a situation what do you think about the meets and do you think you can win medals at these meets?

A. Everyone hopes to win medals at international meets for their country. I too hope so. At every meet I try to perform to the best of my ability. I think one day I will win medals in major meets. The Commonwealth Meet is very competitive.

Q: Sarangi, would you like to say something about your family?

A: We live in Panadura. We are a small family: my father, mother and one brother. My father is an officer in the Army and mother is a housewife. My one and only brother is a quantity surveyor.

Q: How did you begin your sports activities?

A: As a little girl aged ten I selected the long jump at sports meets in my school. I also participated in sprint events. Sprinting helped to build my jumping skills.

Q: Was there a special reason for you to select the long jump?

A: Actually there was no special reason. I performed the event as a little girl and I am better at jumping than at other events and I love to be involved in long-jumping. My father and mother were also good jumpers in their time. This may have impacted me to select this event.

Q: You went to the Sumangala Balika Vidyalaya?

A: Yes. I am an old girl of Sumangala Balika Vidyalaya, Panadura.

Q: Could you briefly outline your sports activities while at school?

A: Like other athletes I too have won zonal, divisional, district and provincial meets. Finally, I won at the all-island meet. At that time, I did not have any coach. I develop my abilities on my own. When I was 11, I set up a long jump record without wearing shoes. When I look back, I feel that all the happenings in my life are like miracles.

Q: What about your success at national and International level?

A: In 2012, for the first time, I participated at the Asian Junior Athletics meet and was placed fifth. At that time, I was 16. In 2013, I participated in this event in Malaysia and won third place in thelong jump event and second place in the 100 metres event. In the same year in an Indian meet, I won third place in the long jump and first place in 100-metre relay event.
But, in 2014 I faced an injury and my performance level came down and I was placed seventh at the Asian Junior Championship in Chinese Taipei. Then following year I temporarily stopped my sports activities to sit for the GCE Advanced Level examination.
After my examination, I restarted my sports career. In 2016, I got a chance to participate in the South Asian Games In India. At that meet I won a bronze medal in the long jump event. The year 2017 was another milestone in my sports career. I won bronze in the Brunei open athletics meet and won gold in the 100-metre race in that meet.
Then I took part in the Thailand Open Meet and won a bronze medal in the long jump event. That year, I became fourth at the World Military Games. However, I had a chance to win two gold medals for long jump and in the 4 x 100 metres relay events at the South Asian Games in Kathmandu in 2019. That is my success path as an athlete.

Q: Now you are a member of the Sri Lanka Army Sports Club?

A: After passing the Advanced Level examination I joined the Sri Lanka Army as a volunteer. I have been working there since 2015.

Q:Did your family support you in your sports life?

A: Without them I could not have won these medals. They are always behind me like shadows. My family plays a powerful part in my success.

Q: Would you like to say something about your prospects in your sports career?

A: I hope to participate in the Olympics one day. I know it is not an easy task. Very few athletes in the world get a chance to participate in the Olympics. But I wish to achieve it. That is my major wish in life.

Pix: ceylonathletics.com