Thisuri Molligoda (left) and Dineshkanthan Thangaraja who emerged as the women’s and men’s open singles champions

Thisuri Molligoda who was defeated in the under-18 girls singles final by Nethmi Waduge came back mentally strong and beat her conqueror in the women’s singles final to clinch the Open singles crown at the 100th National Tennis Championship that was worked off at the SLTA courts in Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha recently.

Dineshkanthan Thangaraja emerged as the men’s Open singles champion when he beat Sharmal Dissanayake in the final at the Nationals.

Thisuri started playing tennis at the age of 8 years at Visakha Vidyalaya. She participated in all the junior level competitions. In Junior Nationals of 2008 Thisuri was runner-up in the U-11, -12 age categories. Later she became champion in the U-14, U-16 and U-18 age groups. Her first coach was Jayantha Chandralal. It was he who initiated her into the game and continued as her coach in molding her at the junior level.

Her love for tennis did not interfere with her studies, which her mother insisted. She succeeded in balancing both to achieve her goals. Tennis was her passion. She did not dream of achievements although her coach told her that she was a good player. She did not take such comments seriously and played naturally for the love of the sport.

When she was 11 years she participated in the U-14 category at Junior tennis championship in Malaysia and won a bronze medal. That victory gave her confidence and belief that she could progress further. She represented Sri Lanka at the Junior Fed-Cup Tournament in 2012 held in Malaysia and the Senior Fed-Cup 2015 in Malaysia and China. Thisuri won most of the events in the junior singles at the Colombo “A” Grade Championship Tournaments in Colombo.

This 5 ft 8 inches tall, stoutly built player has indeed made an impression at the National tennis scene and should be considered as an asset for the future. She was a junior prefect at Visakha and received senior colours for tennis. At present she is preparing privately to sit the London Advanced Level examination.

She intends to join one of the best women’s’ tennis circuits overseas after her London A/L examination, to gain more experience and bring honour to her mother land.

Thisuri is grateful to her parents Deepika and Thusitha, for allowing her to play tennis and appreciates their support. Her coaches are Maheesha Seneviratne, Baratharaj Pillai, Bagi, Christantha Perera, who coached her continuously for eight years and Thangarajah Dineshkanthan who has been her coach for the last four years. Her physical trainers are Ranil Harshana, Mothilal Jayathilake and Jaliya.

Wishing her the very best in her academic and sporting endeavours in the future.

Meghavarna Kumarasinghe