Lubna Morseth, Head Girl of Lyceum International School – Wattala has not only excelled in academics but also in the Sri Lanka basketball scene. Being selected to represent both the junior and senior national women`s team at such a young age, this week on Swishing the Nets, Lubna relates her story of balancing three sports and aspiring to be a doctor.
Below are the excerpts.
Q: Introduction to the sport?
I started basketball when I was in grade four. My sister used to play basketball before me. With time I started feeling a little envious because she got all the good and pretty shoes. I also wanted to get that attention. So, I also started playing the game and eventually she stopped and I went on to go past her, falling in love with the game.
The support has been amazing. I did not have to tell them that I need help, they were just there. Even though some of my teachers said that I was going to fail in my studies if I continued playing basketball but my parents kept encouraging me. They have been there through all the ups and downs.
Q: How do you manage to do well in both your academics and sports?
I have this daily routine of waking up at five in the morning. If I have morning practices I go for that and if not, I catch up on my studies. Being a head prefect can be a difficult task and most of the time because of my duties I miss a lot of practices. To make up for that loss during water breaks I usually shoot and do all the ball handling drills. The other way around when I miss my academics I get my friends’ notes and complete them.
Q: How is your practice schedule?
We have evening practices on Wednesday and Friday. Morning practices on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Most of the time I practice playing post movements and then during water breaks I catch up on what I missed due to my academics.
Q: How do you feel about representing Sri Lanka internationally while still in school?
I have represented Sri Lanka across both formats, 5on5 and 3×3. First time I toured was in 2016 for the U18 Asia Cup. The tour opened my mind and eyes to see how much I needed to improve my game. Playing against other teams, they were so hard and I needed to improve more and it really gives you a great feeling just to mention that you have represented Sri Lanka internationally.
It will always be representing Sri Lanka, you wear the jersey with a lot of pride. Then of course all the MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards that I have received. Every single time has been memorable.
Q: When you were selected to represent the senior women`s team at such a young age, how did you handle the challenge?
It was a challenge at first. I thought it would be hard to communicate with them (my teammates) because they are not my age. Then, I went on to find it very easy. They did not consider me as kid but treated me equally. That took the pressure off me and helped me settle down and play my own game in the big league.
Q: Who are the toughest teams and players you have played against in the local circuit?
The toughest team I should say is Good Shepherd Convent – Kotahena. Secondly it would be, St. Joseph`s Girls’ School. In terms of players without doubt it is Nirma Sasanthi.
Q: Three sports. Basketball, netball and athletics. But you love basketball. Any reason?
It`s this feeling that I have more to do and show in the game of basketball. Even though I do play three sports, I guess I just completely and madly fell in love with basketball.
Q: What has basketball given back to you in life?
It has taught me the most important thing about life. Team work. You need to know that you cannot do things in life alone and that you must work with people. Secondly, basketball also has taught me leadership which helps me in a great deal in my day to day activities as the head prefect.
I have seen Sri Lanka basketball grow. It has had strong growth throughout these years but I think we have a lot more to improve. Maybe more practice days or more practice sessions, practice matches all of that will help us to improve even more.
Q: Any advice to a youngster who is starting the sport?
Times will be tough when you first start. You will feel that you want to stop half way and that you are not able to do it anymore. It is alright to feel that but every time you do, don`t allow yourself to stop but keep that foot outside your comfort zone. That will be help you to keep going forward.
Q: Tell us about your future plans?
I am hoping to continue basketball even when I leave school. I would like to have more opportunities to represent Sri Lanka. My ambition is to become a doctor but my passion is playing basketball. So even If I go abroad I am hoping to play there as well.
Q: Anyone to thank?
Firstly, my family, parents and my sister. To my school Lyceum International School – Wattala. My two coaches at school and my national coaches. To all the teachers and everyone at school for helping in various ways. Finally, to all my team-mates for having my back and supporting me always to balance both sides of my career.