Clad in a maroon colour T-shirt and a black track bottom, Sachith Maduranga looks more a moderate short distance sprinter as he jogs along the tarmac outside the Sugathadasa Stadium. But with a burning passion to get close to a Sri Lanka record one day and persevere a career in javelin throwing, Maduranga is probably the most prospective junior in his chosen sports discipline.
Calm and collected, the 19-year-old who had just established a new record, hardly looked such a big record-breaker when he spoke to ‘Sunday Island – Sportstar’ last Thursday (4) at Sugathadasa.
"I owe a lot to my coaches. Rodrigo sir and Sudinna sir," said Maduranga.
Maduranga cleared a distance of 64.63 meters to establish a new record in the Under-20 boys’ javelin on the opening day of the Junior National Athletic Championship which began at the Sugathadasa Stadium, Colombo, the same day. Incidentally, he broke his own record of 63.68 meters set last year.
Improved Performance –
In an event where there is very little margin for error, Maduranga kept his cool to take his performance into new heights.
"Today I could throw only 64.63 meters but I did a better throw recently at the Divisional Meet," revealed Maduranga who had started training under veteran athletic coach A.J. Rodrigo after the untimely death of his former coach and mentor Sudinna Pathirana. Pathirana died due to a kidney failure last year.
"I think that I received a good foundation at my school. I had a very good coach in Sudinna sir, who was like a father to me. He not only instructed me on developing my athletic career but also advised me on discipline in life and how to live in society. I really miss him," said the youngster.
Early Years –
"In Rodrigo sir, I have an experienced coach. And I am blessed that I could train under him," Maduranga said.
Maduranga had first started athletics as a short distance sprinter at the Ananda College, winning at school sports meet in his early teenage years.
"I was doing javelin throwing and was taking part in short distance events. When I was Under-17, I was able to win a place at a Junior National event in javelin. From then on, I concentrated more on javelin throw."
"From 2006-07 season, I started winning golds in javelin and from then on, I have never looked back," Maduranga said.
Despite throwers getting very little opportunities to represent the country and getting sponsorships, this diehard thrower still wants to persevere a career in javelin throwing.
Representing SL –
"I am in the midst of a very good company. Rodrigo sir is inspirational. The throwers under him are very helpful (several national level athletes are training under Rodrigo) and I have love for this sport and I want to represent the country one day," said Maduranga who has already represented Sri Lanka once.
Maduranga represented Sri Lanka at the last South Asian Junior Athletic Championships and was placed 4th in the javelin competing against very senior athletes.
"Although I have not got a real (more prominent) opportunity to represent Sri Lanka so far, I think I would get that opportunity in times to come," Maduranga hoped.
Maduranga hails from a family of four children and both his parents are retired teachers.