Musketeers in badminton
By Bilal Yusuf
There have been the Chappell and
Waugh brothers in cricket, the Williams sisters in tennis and now
we have the Karunaratne brothers in badminton. The only difference
being that it’s not two brothers but three. In the past we
have heard two brothers making it to a national squad or a team,
but it’s certainly a rare occasion that you hear of three
brothers in the same team.
Diluka and Dinuka are three outstanding badminton players who carry
the hopes of Sri Lanka’s badminton future. The three brothers
have been selected for next year’s SAF Games, with the most
promising fact being that all three brothers are below the age of
twenty. Niluka aged 19 is currently ranked as Sri Lanka’s
number one player, Dinuka (18) is ranked number two in Sri Lanka
and Diluka (17) the youngest of the three brothers is ranked 4th
in the island.
and Diluka are still schooling at Royal College, Diluka will be
sitting for his Advanced Level examination next year while Dinuka
completed his Ordinary Level examination last year. Niluka who also
studied at Royal College left school after his Ordinary Level exams
to concentrate totally on badminton. Their father Loui Karunaratne,
a former national badminton player, has been their coach from their
is currently ranked number 71 in the world and has dominated the
sport in the country for the past three years. Recently he won the
badminton nationals for the fourth consecutive year running. Niluka
has participated in several tournaments abroad and has emerged runners
up in the Wales open and Australian Open in 2004. In 2000 he won
the gold medal in the junior SAF Games.
has also won the junior national school championship in all age
groups from under 11 to under 19 levels and received the prestigious
“crown” award in 2001 that is awarded to the most outstanding
sportsmen in Royal College. In 2000 he also won the “most
outstanding sportsman” award at Royal College.
like his older brother has also emerged victorious in all age group
categories in the junior national badminton championship. In the
SAF games trials Dinuka stunned his older brother Niluka winning
the match in straight sets when the two brothers met in the semi
finals. However Niluka got his sweet revenge when he beat Dinuka
in the national’s semi finals.
has also won several tournaments, which include NSBA open, Gampaha
Open, SAF games doubles tournament and the Belgian Open. Diluka’s
most memorable day in badminton was when he won the NSBA singles
the youngest of the three brothers has emerged victorious in several
tournaments as well. On a small stint in England, he won several
tournaments for Northwood Club winning the under 13 singles and
doubles titles, in 2004 he was adjudged the best player of the club.
has been awarded colours for badminton for three years at Royal
College. Dinuka’s most memorable day in badminton is when
he won the first junior triple crown in 2004, when he won the singles,
doubles and mixed doubles title.
left school at the age of 17 to train harder so that he could improve
his game. He said that with him training morning and evening, six
days a week, made it impossible for him to pursue his academic career.
his ambition is to become one of the top ten players in the world
he has to train harder, and thus, he decided to leave school early
and focus totally on badminton. He also said that his two younger
brothers are still deciding whether to pursue their career in badminton
or go abroad for studies.
said that he feels the Sri Lanka badminton scene is lacking in certain
areas such as nutritional requirements and fitness levels. He said
that fitness standard is not up to the mark. Niluka said, “When
I went overseas for training on one occasion I had to run 1600 meters
eight times, that’s the sort of training and hard work that
top badminton players put in to achieve excellence.”
also said if anyone is determined on achieving success in sports,
every athlete would have to go through some pain before he can achieve
success. So the story of the Karunaratne brothers is a unique one,
where probably for the first time in the history of sports in Sri
Lanka, three brothers will be representing their country at the