The Future Today – ThePapare.com’s hunting ground for talent sought after Ranuli Wickramasekera, the captain of the victorious Musaeus College Rowing Crew at the LC-MC regatta, 2016.
Ranuli Wickramasekera, following the footsteps of her sister Vinuri Wickramasekera who captained the Musaeus College rowing crew in 2012, started rowing in 2011 as a young 13 year old going on to taking her team to victory as a 6th year campaigner.
Having played netball, she fell in love with rowing after watching her sister rowing and after her parents also influenced her to start the sport. “I do not regret the decision my parents and I made”, she said. As many sports persons of this decade are compelled to do, she has had to keep up with her studies and maintain a balance between academics and recreation. “I study for about an hour and a half every day after training, and I set all my extra classes at times that didn’t clash with training so that I didn’t compromise on any of the two”.
Ranuli has played an instrumental role in this year’s Musaeus College victory over Ladies College, which is no mean after a 5 year long losing streak. On the topic of her preparation for the regatta, her ‘rowing diary’ surely took her a long way. “I have analysed all the previous LC-MC regattas that I have participated in and I wrote down all the points that we had to improve on. I also wrote down the daily progress of my crew and I would evaluate and scribble about anything that needed more focus. We pre-planned every regatta during the year and again analysed the key points we could improve on”, related Ranuli speaking with much enthusiasm on her pet subject.
Ranuli also expressed how her elder sister Vinuri , has been a key to her success. “My sister helped me every day to overcome any challenges I had to face and this year’s victory was mostly for her because she lost by 2 points, in her year as the captain”.
Mr. Mark Maurice, the head of coach of the Musaeus College rowing crew, since taking on duties back in 2014 has most definitely made a positive impact on the crew. “Coach Mark was always approachable and I would always consult him during every problem or doubt I had. He had a sound knowledge of the sport and also played the father-like figure of the crew being in good terms with everyone in the crew, and that is what I would say matters the most. Coach has supported our crew a lot and this year’s win, we whole heartedly owe to him”.
“As the Captain of the crew, I had to face a lot of challenges along the way”, she said, “but my coach and crew were always there for me and I got a lot of support from the school authorities as well, especially from Mrs Vajira Attanayake, our rowing teacher-in-charge”.
This year, the crew had a lot of experienced faces who have been on the losing side for the past few years. On the topic of the team, skipper Ranuli most proudly said, “My crew this year was a very different team and they always rowed with a lot of heart, and I would say unity was the biggest key to the victory. We mostly believed in our respective religions and in each other and at the end of the day, we pulled it off,”.
Winning after a 5 year long wait, according to Ranuli was the best feeling and she said that this was a well-deserved victory since the team had worked extremely hard despite Coach Mark’s excruciating training schedules. “I made sure my team pushed their selves to the maximum level possible in order to get over the finish line, first”.
Coming through the ranks throughout the years, Ranuli mentioned that the 2016 Boat Race was by far, the toughest race she has ever rowed simply due to the fact that both boats, Ladies and Musaeus were up together until the last 100 meters of the race and she said, “I was already tired because the Boat Race was my third race for the day, but six years of rowing all boiled down to that last 100 meters of the race and that is what made us get over the finish line in a commanding position”.
“Despite the result at the end of the day, whether we win or lose, it is the journey that really matters and I could look back and say that I have no regrets’. Even though the fitness sessions were tough, we managed to make memories out of them as well and I will always cherish them for the rest of my life”.
Ranuli Wickramasekera will be taking part in her last year, next year in 2017 and added, “I am looking forward to rowing next year, even though I have my advanced level examination coming up before the big regatta”.
Concluding the interview, the oarswoman thanked everyone who supported her through her rowing and was adamant that she wouldn’t be where she is now if not for those who supported her.
She parted with the following words of advice for any youngster who wants to take up the challenge of rowing. “Rowing is more of a ‘love or hate’ sport and it is not for quitters. The biggest example rowing gives is, no matter how big or small you are, if you work hard and train with a lot of heart and compassion, you will see the results you intended on getting. The lessons you will learn from rowing aren’t just confined to the sport but will help you along the journey of life”.
We thank Ranuli for the time spent with us.