At age 18, Ravindu Laksiri, Sri Lanka’s No.1 seeded squash player and of Asian fame, dreams of doing his country proud on a higher international pedestal.
Ravindu was placed second both at the 21st Asian Junior Individual Squash Championship 2014 in Iran – Under 19 Special Plate and the 2013 Asian Youth Games in China. He is also the national champion in 2014.
“I have about eight more years ahead of me and intend using all the international experience gained so far, to achieve something bigger for my country,” said Tharindu.
Tharindu, , counts nearly nine years overseas playing experience having first represented his country at junior level by age 11, and his coach C.H.Thalagala believes that the youngster has the capacity to climb up the ladder.
Interestingly, Ravindu started playing squash as a 7-year old at D.S. Senanayake College where he went on to stamp his name as a junior sensation. By the time he was 11 years, he had won as many as five major local titles in that age group including two national ones. These included the All Island Inter School Squash Championship 2005, All Island Inter School Junior Squash Championship, All Island Inter School Squash Championship 2006, Transasia Open Squash Championship 2006, Fingara Open Squash Championship 2005 and Junior National Open Squash Championship 2005. As Ravindu, fondly recounts, “that was the base for my going places. Those achievements indeed stood me in good stead in making a mark at under-17 and 19 age levels”.
His meteoric rise is best reflected by the fact that at under-17 level, he won eight Age Group Under-17 titles – the Air Force Open Squash Championship 2010 and Janashakthi Open Squash Championship 2010 and 2011, Otters Open Squash Championship 2010, Etisalat Open Squash Championship 2010, Junior National Open Squash Championship 2011, All Island Inter School Squash Championship 2011, SLSF open Squash Championship 2011 and Junior National Open Squash Championship 2012.
The Sri Lanka No.1 seed for the last three years since 2012, Tharindu has followed in the footsteps of his role model international squash champion and World No.1 Ramy Mohamed Ashour of Egypt.
“Studying Ramy Ashour has also served me well in modifying and further developing my game in respect of fine tuning the critical aspects that go to make a champion,” he reasoned.
Incidentally, Ravindu has the distinction of winning 18 local Under-19 age group championships including the Junior National Open Squash Championship 2012 and All Island Inter School Squash Championship 2012 Janashakthi Open Squash Championship 2011, SSC Open Squash Championship 2011, Premadasa Open Squash Championship 2012, Air Force Open Squash Championship 2012, SLSF open Squash Championship 2012 and SLSF open Squash Championship 2013.
The former D.S.Senanayake College prodigy speaking to Ceylon Today, said, “I am ever so grateful to Ralhum Sports Company and its Managing Director, Mohamed, who are the agents for Dunlop, for sponsoring me with the Dunlop branded racquets by which I have greatly benefited. These facilities would help me go a long way in my international career,” contended Ravindu.