“She whispered she could, So she achieved !”

She is a devoted hard worker, a role model and a instinctive leader who led by example, she is none other than the captain of women’s table tennis team of University of Moratuwa, Kavindi Sahabandu. MoraSpirit was privilege enough to talk with her and hear about her side of the tale behind the success of women’s table tennis in the University. She is currently an undergraduate of BSc. (Hons) in Chemical Engineering.

 

For every successful journey there should be a starting point, what inspired you to play table tennis in the first place?

Well, I should say that I was self-inspired because I did not have that table tennis background which most of the players have, so I did not have any person urging me to get involved with the sport. I decided to sign up with table tennis after seeing senior students talking about the sport in the morning assembly of my school Holy Family Convent, Kurunagala. So I had that thought “Hey, I should also play that sport!” and it turned out to be one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life.

 

Kavindi, being the captain of women’s table tennis team of University of Moratuwa should be a huge responsibility on your shoulders. Tell us what does it really means to be the captain?

Well, being the captain in any sport is never easy and it could be a huge burden on any person because you have to be responsible for the performance of the entire team. But our girls have being very supportive from the day one and they have given nothing less than their hundred percent to the team, so I never felt stressful at all being the captain. I should say that I enjoyed every second as the captain and I’m privileged and honored being the skipper.

 

The journey of becoming the captain should have been a definite roller coaster ride and achievements that you have gained as a school player must have provided you with the confidence that you needed to face any obstacle in your career. Shall we talk about some memorable landmarks in your school career?

Altogether I have participated to nine international tours during my school career and the highest national rank that I have managed to achieve was rank three. I managed to participate the under 16 and 18 South Asian Tournament consistently in 2009,2010 and 2011.In 2010 I had the privilege to represent Sri Lankan national team in commonwealth games which was held in India. In 2010 I represented Sri Lanka in Bangladesh tour. The most memorable achievement in my career was receiving the award for best sportswomen in 2010 colors night. I temporarily stopped playing table tennis because I had to concentrate on my studies during Advanced level period.

 

What was the response of your family when you started playing the sport?

Well, the support and blessing I got from my family was remarkable. Since day one they have given their fullest support and without their selfless support I could not have been able to achieve none of this. Every parent wishes their child to go on top of the ladder in studies, my parents are the same but as I told earlier table tennis was a new thing to them and I’m really thankful to them for letting me follow my dream even with a possible risk of my studies being disturbed.

 

Is there any special person comes in to your mind when recalling your past achievements?

Yes, as I mentioned earlier my parents have always been there for me, especially I have to mention my mother here. She has being there for me throughout my career, supporting and motivating me. Also I have to mention my coach, Mr. Chaminda Rodrigo. He has been a great role model and an inspiration to me and his guidance helped me to overcome any obstacles both while playing and in life.

 

As we know last year the performance of your team was off the charts, how is the team of yours performing at the moment?

Yes, definitely last year certainly was a golden year for us, we managed to emerge as the Inter University champions and it was one of the greatest moments of the women’s table tennis history of our university. Being crowned as the champions last year, the girls are in high spirits and a good mental condition this year also. I’m proud to say that we have been able to complete all tournaments including Wayo spin, Kelaniya and KDU as champions, so girls are pumped up and well prepared to face the upcoming Inter University Games and probably win it once more.

 

Last year under the guidance of Mr. Jothipala you guys were well in shape although this year you have a new head coach. What are the new strategies you are following under his guidance?

This year we are preparing for the Inter University Games under the guidance of Mr. Madura Dhananjaya. He is an equally excellent coach like Mr. Jothipala and under his guidance we are hoping to improve the performances of our girls further. Especially he is focusing on our physical performance which was an area we were week last year. I believe under his training we will be able to perform better.

 

Many people struggle in balancing sport with their academics, but you seem to have overcome that issue without breaking a sweat. How did you manage to co-op your academics with sport?

Actually sport was newer a disturbance to my academic career at all. Table tennis has always been my comfort zone and whenever things get tough in academics I used the sport to free my mind and get back on the track. But I made it sure newer to interfere the sport with my studies, I fully concentrated on studies when I have to study and I never forget to attend to practices regularly.

 

It is natural to have second thoughts when you are going to try out a sport for the first time. What is your advice as a senior player for those people who are willing to choose table tennis as their sport in the university?

 

Well, I don’t think that anyone should have second thoughts when trying out a sport for the first time. Even if you have not played table tennis at school you still can perform very well at the university level. The vice-captain of our men’s team is a great example for that, he managed to reach the very top even though he has not played at the school level. I think if you have the passion for the sport and if you attend practices daily Table Tennis is one of the easiest sports to be mastered.

 

Finally tell us whether you are going to follow table tennis even after university or are you simply going to say good bye to the sport?

I know that engineering field is one of the most stressful and hard fields of them all but I am never going to let go of table tennis. Even after university I still can play nationals so I hope for the better and keep on playing the sport.

 

Indeed, a true believer never let go of her passion. That winds up the inspiring interview with a humble captain, a true role model and an inspiration to young paddlers. MoraSpirit likes to wish all the very best for her future endeavors and wish her good luck for the upcoming Inter University Games.

 

Article by: Jayan Chandresekera

Edited by: Janani Kulasekara

Sponsored by: Millennium IT

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