Underprivileged shine at Youth Boxing Championship
The greatest 400m sprinter that Sri Lanka has ever produced, Sugath Thilakaratne, who retired recently, wrote his episode in a book about the hard work done during his school days.
"My day began often at 3 a.m.; I would normally step out of the house early hours of the day and walk 2km which is the distance to the nearest bus stop, ever since I started training at Ambagamuwa Maha Vidyalaya. I had to travel 18km back and forth to get to school in time… We used to cross the Mahaweli River that led to the school ground, hoping that the water level would not have risen. I still remember near death experience when I crossed the river with my coach. The water level was right up to my neck, but not once I did let my bag get wet since there were my books, my spare clothes and my shoes as I needed them for my training after school."
It is hard to imagine even the difficulties that he (Sugath) had undergone to fulfill his dream in athletics. There are many more talented students with similar circumstances who work hard to make a mark in his or her chosen field. They fail in the long run as they fail to get financial aid. Their families are unable to substantiate such talented students with the necessities to enhance their inborn talent.
It is the fate that Sugath Thilakaratne happened to undergo during his school days.
‘Sunday Island - Sportstar’ learns a fine example, at the Youth Boxing Championship which worked off at Veyangoda last Monday. A few boxers from Ganthalawa Vidyalaya in Kantale, who suffered from war and experienced the tragedy of it for decades, took part in the Youth Boxing Championship under many difficulties. Having lived and undergone tremendous suffering, they made an impact at the event as they won two silvers medals and three bronze medals.
Although Ganthalawa Vidyalaya did not win the Overall Championship winning medals, it was a dream come true for them. Most probably winning a medal for them was nothing but winning the Overall Championship.
Earlier, they (Ganthalawa) have taken part in the L.E. Jayaweera Memorial Boxing Championship and T.B. Jaya Memorial Boxing Championship and have won seven bronze medals in those two championships.
K. K. Sunil, was a boxer of the Pilimathalawa Central College in Kandy during his school days, and now the coach of Ganthalawa Vidyalaya said that these boxers continue their practices with many difficulties.
"I will tell you something about our practices, there are only two boxing gloves available for us to do training. There are about 30 boxers who have to use these gloves. That shows what we have for boxing pratices.
"If I am to relate the financial background of these students; their financial background is zero. Sometimes, I have notice that some of the students take only one meal per day. So, I ask them to meditate for sometimes and that helps them overcome hunger,"said disgusted Sunil.
Sunil added, "These students have seen the consequences of the war and it is good to see that they consecrate on the sport even they undergo many difficulties".