Women's Triple Jumper Vidusha Lakshani's solitary medal for Sri Lanka at the just concluded Asian Athletic Championship 2019 in Doha, Qatar was overshadowed by the dreadful suicide bomb attacks on Easter Sunday, where one of the three churches bombed by the terrorists is in the vicinity of the budding athlete's home.
With mixed feelings, the 21-year-old's feat, her maiden international medal as a senior athlete, has given Vidusha the motivation to be more farsighted in filling the huge vacuum Sri Lanka is facing after the exodus of medal winning athletes from the field.
"It's a great feeling, to win my first international medal at a senior event. I have won representing Sri Lanka at Junior Athletics events, including the South Asian Games. But this medal is far more exceptional, and I intend to add more medals for my country with this motivation," an outspoken Vidusha stated.
Hailing from Negombo and cutting her teeth as a national prospect at Newstead Girls' School, Vidusha has never had an inspiring character in her short, yet, blossoming career.
Interestingly her inspiration comes from within her family, and the guidance of her long-standing coach, Philip Ranjith, who helped Vidusha become a medal-winning Triple Jumper.
"I was never a Triple Jumper before, and I would have never got attracted to track and field events if not for my older sister. She was into athletics at school and the only one who engaged in sports, but her career was limited to school level. She was the one who pushed me into athletics and aroused my interest into track and field events," Vidusha said, recalling of her beginning.
In 2012, after trying out in High Jump and 400metre Hurdles events, Vidusha decided to fully focus on the Triple Jump event.
Her coach Philip Ranjith has been quite influential in Vidusha's successes, but last year she came under the wing of Cuban coach Luiz Miranda.
"I knew Coach Luiz for quite some time, as I get to meet him often at training sessions in Colombo. With the consent of Mr. Ranjith, I joined Coach Luiz's team, because I strongly felt that he could help me take a step further. Soon as I won the bronze medal in Qatar, I spoke to Mr. Ranjith and he was overwhelmed with my achievement".
Vidusha's only intention at the concluded event was to redeem her possible bronze medal in the 2017 Asian Athletic Championship, by achieving her personal best.
Eventually it was a dream-come-true for the lass, who cleared 13.53 metres to achieve both -- her personal best and the bronze medal.
The medal was Sri Lanka's solitary at the Asian Athletic Championship 2019 and Vidusha was quite taken aback by the fact that she was able to add a smile on the Sri Lankans' faces, after the country went on to mourn the death of over 250 people, from six attacks around the country.
"I lost some of my schoolmates as well as some close friends including teachers. It was not really the kind of news I wished to hear and to some extent I was disturbed. But I made sure that I perform up to my potential and prove that we are strong people," Vidusha who is quite shaken by the shocking incidents said.
The Triple Jumper is currently a member of the Voluntary Force of Sri Lanka Army, who looks into her well-being as an athlete.
In addition she is being well backed by the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka and the National Olympic Committee provides her a monthly grant, as she continues to train six days per week in Colombo.
She resides in a boarding place in Colombo with her mother, while her entire family is right behind Vidusha, giving her all the support.
The bronze medal won in Qatar, at present lies at her home in Negombo, as Vidusha is fully focused on improving her performances aiming at the upcoming National Championship at home and the IAAF World Athletics Championship in September, again in Qatar.
But her sights are set further than those events.
"My real focus is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It may sound as a routine statement given by any athlete after winning a medal, but no, for me this is life. I want to become an athlete who is strong, capable of winning medals constantly while learning from mistakes and join the international stage as a performer among other contenders. My intention is that I make my country proud at international level and become an asset," Vidusha fired up by his ambition stated.
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