Nationals title my next aim - champion tennis player thisuri Molligoda



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By Revata S. Silva


The year 2011 became an important one for the 14-year-old tennis player Thisuri Molligoda, a Visakha Vidyalaya schoolgirl. The lanky right-hander successfully completed the ITF Asian Under-14 event in Myanmar last January before performing well for Sri Lanka in the subsequent international World Juniors tournament held in Colombo.


Later, Thisuri became champion, for a second time in a row, in Girls Under-14 age group at the recently concluded Junior Tennis Nationals at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA). There, she also emerged victorious in the Under-16 age group as well. An emerging force in the National women’s circuit, Molligoda, who entered the game through the SLTA and schools Mini Tennis (now ‘Tennis 10’) Programme in 2005, said she has two main ambitions in her tennis when ‘Sunday Island – Sportstar’ met her last Thursday, Sep. 8, in Colombo for an interview.


Firstly she wishes to bring glory to the country through tennis, which she has preferred to badminton, as her mother Deepika says, due to her attraction to the game at her tender age at Visakha. The other ambition is to play one day at the international women’s professional circuit known as the Women’s Tennis Association or WTA.


"She was playing badminton at Visakha but later wanted to play tennis after seeing her friends taking part at the school Mini Tennis Programme, under coach Jayantha Chandralal. Later the coach insisted that she should take to tennis seriously as she looked to have a bright future in the game," says Thisuri’s mother.


The move they made from badminton to tennis became a successful one. After a few years, young Thisuri proved so by performing well and making commendable feats in National as well as regional level.


Being a national champion now with a lot of promise, she yields better support from the mother body of the sport.


"The SLTA has been very much supportive to my tennis. And it will be more encouraging if the National Association can make sure its facilities, mainly the courts, are available free of charge or at a nominal fee at least for the players who represent the country at the international level," Thisuri remarked.


A couple of more years of hard work will certainly carry this tall lass to places. And, such continued effort will make her one of the best prospects for the country in tennis, a sport that tries hard nowadays to get away from the ‘aching’ elitist shackles.


THISURI MOLLIGODA FACTS


Name: Thisuri Gayara Molligoda


(A right-handed player)


Back-hand: Double-handed


Born: Aug. 28, 1997


Age: 14 yrs.


Father: Thusitha Molligoda


Mother: Deepika Molligoda


Siblings: Elder sister Upekkha and elder brother Harshana


Racket: Babolat Pure Drive Lite


Height: 5’8" (173 cm)


Weight: 60 lbs (27 kgs)


School: Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo


Began Tennis: At the age of 8


Coaches: Jayantha Chandralal, Cryshantha Perera, Mahesha Seneviratne and Ranil Harshana (Fitness & Conditioning)


Major National Level Achievements: Won U-14 National Singles title in 2010 beating Thilini Athapaththu in the finals. Then in this year’s Nationals, won the U-14 title again, beating Nethmi Waduge in the finals, and U-16, beating Shankari Thayakaran in the finals. A semi-finalist in Women’s Nationals in 2011 losing to the eventual champion, Amritha Muttiah in a three-setter.


Major International Achievements: Won Bronze Medal at the ITF U-14 (Group-2) Asian Tournament in Myanmar and qualified to enter Group-1 held in Indonesia. Was a member of the Sri Lanka team that won 1st place in World Juniors international pre-qualifiers in Colombo to reach the tournament qualifying round held in Malaysia.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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