The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Complacency is not in Samarakoon’s vocabulary


Although the pressure of these Olympics may conquer many an athlete in London, Mangala Samarakoon is virtually guaranteed not to be amongst those fazed by the enormity of the event. For performing under trying circumstances is nothing new to the young shooter but merely part of his job description as a soldier.

\Nevertheless, going into these games Mangala feels extremely ecstatic to be a part of the contingent which will be representing Sri Lanka at these 30th Olympic Games.“I feel very happy. It has always been a dream of mine to take part in the Olympics. When I won my event in the 2006 SAF games in Sri Lanka I knew that I had a chance of making it to the Olympics,” he reveals.

The rifleman, who in addition

It has always been a dream of mine to take part in the Olympics. - Pic by Amila Gamage

to bagging a gold medal at the South Asian Games also secured gold at the South Asian Shooting Championships, will be competing in the 10 meter air rifle and 50 meter prone events. And although he has not received any foreign training, he is more than confident that he can hold his own against the games’ international competition.

“I know about international players and their level because I have competed against them. I have gone up against Chinese, Indian and Korean shooters, who are some of the best in the world at the sport, and lost by a gap of only around eight points,” Mangala points out.
However he adds that it will be tough, being as how many of the top competitors he will be pitted against frequently record a full score of 600, and a lot will depend on how he performs on the day.

Mangala asserts that to him shooting is a form of meditation and a sport far removed from all others.“When you are at the shooting range, apart from the trainer, you are the only person who is there so you are focused,” he says.Indeed his trainers, Brigadier Kenneth Edema and Pushpamali Ramanayaka, have always been there for him Mangala says, showering him with technical advice and mental support.

With the utmost modesty, Mangala expresses that there is an abundance of shooting talent in the country, with some shooters possessing even greater potential than him. However he laments that a lack of adequate facilities often deprives them of the chance to progress to the next level of their development.

“If you look at foreign shooting ranges, they are all electronic. If we have one or two electronic ranges then national shooters can practice well and eventually compete properly at international events.”

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