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“If I can achieve this, I believe every other girl can” Shenuki Dishalya

7 March 2022 09:57 am

Words : Aanya Wipulasena
Photos : Nirmala Dhananjaya

Shenuki made headlines early this year when she brought home four gold medals after competing at the very competitive Asian Pacific Championships. The young weightlifting champion says fear of being judged are holding women back from achieving new heights. Lanka Woman sat down with Shenuki to talk about her experience. 

Shenuki, congratulations on your recent wins. How do you feel about winning multiple golds at the Asian Pacific Championships?

Firstly thank you so much for the wishes. Actually,I’m really happy. This wasn't easy because it's only been two years since I've started powerlifting and when it comes to this achievement,
I am so happy.

You started powerlifting when you were just 17 years old. What drew you to the sport?

Yes, I started powerlifting in 2019 when I was 17 years old. I would say I started it a little bit late but as they say you are never too late to try, I kept going. I was first a gymnast and then a spring board diver. With time I wanted to try another sport and while I was on break from my previous sports I started powerlifting. And that's when I first met coach Ransilu Jayathilake and coach Mothilal Jayathilake. Who first inspired me to start this beautiful sport.

How did you train for this? Were there times when you were exhausted? What kept you going?

Well not just powerlifting but journey to success is always exhausting and tiring but if you're hungry for success you will always keep going because you are motivated 24/7. I trained for more than four months and if you're trying to compete professionally or if you are a passionate athlete, it's not only the sport you have to keep improving you on but your recovery routines, injury prevention, different types of training (strength and conditioning), time with your motivation, health checkups and etc. It's not easy but at the end the happiness of winning and the thought of " I made it " is bigger than anything else you go through.

Achieving all of this is not easy. Did you come across any hurdles along the way?

Unlike the other two sports I did in Sri Lanka powerlifting didn't mentally exhaust me but there were times where I had to skip my trainings and work for my tour. Me and my family faced alot of struggles when representing my country but I hope this achievement will make things easier for us athletes next time. As we compete for a body weight category there were times, I had to control my food and cut weight actually it was a little risky because I didn't want my strength to decrease but I'm thankful for my family and coach who helped and backed me up with positivity. 

You are the middle child of a loving family. How did they help you in your journey? Do you think their support was essential to bring back golds?

As I always mention, behind a good athlete is always supportive family. I couldn't have made it without them. My mom is my biggest motivator. I'm thankful for my parents for always pushing me forward because there were times, I felt like giving up but they always encouraged me. And also, as a strength athlete we need alot of proteins and nutrition. 

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