Being in the shadows of someone else even after continuous and consistent performing could be frustrating and disappointing. Javelin Thrower Sampath Ranasinghe knows it more than anyone.
The 29-year-old, father of twins who lived in the shadow of superior throwers for a decade is now in the limelight becoming the first male javelin thrower ever to represent Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Games. It is surely something he could be proud of but he will want SL public to remember him for a bit more than that after the New Year season.
Javelin Thrower Sampath Ranasinghe had been in the shadows of the country’s leading throwers year-after-year for the good part of a decade. He also had his fair share of personal troubles due to injuries during the time, before he finally made it into the big league making a statement with a 80m plus throw early this year at the national trials which rightfully earned his place to get to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 in Australia.
This isn’t his first tour, but this is the major one and like many other national athletes he too found it hard during the first meet ahead of Commonwealth Games at Brisbane.
His first outing in Australia did not go exactly as planned, to top that he is suffering from a minor injury which was caused by lack of a proper measurer for the Sri Lanka team but with more than 10 days to go to his qualification round, Sampath Ranasinghe is eyeing to make history in the Commonwealth Games 2018 at Gold Coast, Australia.
“I was suffering from a minor injury and it got worse with time as there was no measurer during our training ahead of the Commonwealth Games. But, I got treatment and it’s getting better. I already did run and throw today, which seems good. I have 10 more days to prepare for the event “said Ranasinghe.
Hailing from Unawatuna Maha Vidyalaya, Ranasinghe was not a track and field athlete during school but was more into Baseball and Rugby.
“I joined with Army as a regular soldier and later took on athletics as I had some experience in the javelin during school which paved the way for me “said Ranasinghe .
Ranasinghe who started his throwing in 2006 trained regularly by 2007 under D.R. Jayarathne and later trained under Col, Dissanayake where he improved his throwing distance to 75 m plus before getting injured in 2011 which was a setback to his career after 1 year off the field, Ranasinghe returned but always found himself in the shadow of more superior throwers.
It was initially Waruna Lakshan Dayarathne followed by Asian Championship silver medalist Sachith Maduranga who was in the fame of the javelin throw before Sumedha Ranasinghe took javelin throwing by storm with his 83 m throw in 2015 which sealed his path to RIO Olympics. After Sumedha faded away with post-Olympic time, Waruna again came to fame with a 82m throw which sealed him the chance to compete at the Asian Championship where Sampath Ranasinghe was again thrown into the darkness before he made the wait worthwhile with a personal best at the trials early this year throwing 81.22m which broke the shackles and paved his way to the top securing his ticket to the Commonwealth Games.
It was the joining with coach Kingsly Gunathilaka in 2015 which paved the way for Sampath Ranasinghe to go beyond the 80m mark throw despite family commitment and struggling for years.
“It wasn’t an easy journey being a father of twins and having my family in Galle. I’m staying at the sports hostel in Torrington and travel three days to Gampaha for training. My family helps me a lot, parents and wife are amazing – otherwise for me to continue sports while having twins of the age nearly three wouldn’t have been possible” said Ranasinghe.
“After childbirth I bade farewell to my wife and I went back to training in 10days and went to a meet and in one month I had the South Asian Games trials where I was placed second and competed at the SAG.
Ranasinghe had gone through a lot, just to come here and he is not yet done. Will he be the surprise hero; we will get to know that within the next 10 days on the 13th.
Name- D.G. Sampath Ranasinghe
School- Unawatuna MV
Birthday- 1 September
Event –Javelin Throw
Coache – D.R. Jayarathne, Col Dissanayake, Kingly Gunathilaka
Personal Best- 81.22m