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Former TT champion Rohan now a successful coach

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Rohan Sirisena in action
Rohan Sirisena in action

Former Sri Lankan Table Tennis captain and three times National champion Rohan Sirisena who began a new chapter as a coach already has given fine service to produce talented paddlers .Last year he decided to retire from the game at the age of 39 having played for 25 years and won many medals at local and international tournaments. His vast experience as a player gave him big boost to do his coaching role.

He was the number one ranked player in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 and dropped to rank four at the time of his retirement. But he always loved this sport. “Although I can still play well I know that I can’t gain anything new so I decided to retire to give way to a younger player,” said Sirisena who began playing in 1996.

Sirisena started playing table tennis at St. John’s College Nugegoda under coach Sanjeewa Mendis. Though there was a lack of facilities at St. John’s ,Rohan Sirisena ended up as the most accomplished player the school had produced. He then moved to Royal College from where he gained more recognition in the game.

Rohan captained the Sri Lanka Table Tennis team from 2009 to 2019 while he was able to maintain rank number one from 2007 to 2013 .Former champions Thilina Piyadasa, Indika Prasad , Yohan Deshappriya, K.S.T Chalitha , Dinesh Deshappriya also were mens’s key players in that period and there was a tough battle among them .

Rohan Sirisena was only 14 years when he was among the best nine paddlers

in the country. He was under the guidance of former National champion Jothipala Samaraweera and Veediya Bandara who saw that he developed his skills further. The three times National champion also won men’s runners up at five years . Apart from his men’s single event he performed really w ell at the doubles event while winning nine times men’s doubles as well as mixed doubles titles.

He also got a rare chance to captain the Sri Lanka team for the 3rd Lusofornia Games as well as 2018 Commonwealth Games .I was the National flag bearer on both occasions and it was a very proud moment and that was the first time Table Tennis player got this proud moment.

Getting International experience is always very vital to go forward and especially at the Asian level we have to play with world top class players.

I had opportunity to represent ten world TT championships. In addition two Asian Games, three Commonwealth Games , and ten Asian Championship and eight Commonwealth championships tournaments also in my TT career and that gave a big boost to develop my skills said Rohan. I also won four gold medals and a silver medal while I was playing Asian Junior championships three times and Maldives Invitation championships eight times. I had good memories of these tournaments where I got chance to represent from 1996 tom 2019 and It was not easy to represent National team for such a long period.

I had good memories of World Championship in Germany. We played at fifth division and finished with second while at World Championships in Japan we played at fourth division and ended with second place and our team achievements always very high to play these tournaments added Rohan Sirisena.

I had chance to play South Asian Games in 1999, 2006, 2010, and 2016 and won three silver and six bronze while I was among the best 32 players at Asian ranking and also among best 16 ranking at men’s doubles at Asian level from 2006 to 2010.

We have to go beyond the South Asian level and today I always give my guidance to focus on this to the youngsters.

In 2020 only 16 doubles pair had chance to qualify for the Asian Championships and I was among that list according to the ranking and but due to Global pandemic Asian championship couldn’t conducted at that time.

In 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland Rohan was among the best 32 players and same year he was able to win bronze medal at the Lusofornia Games. All these are good memories as a player but now my task is to produce talented players under my guidance.

The former Ananda Colllege and Royal College Assistant TT coach today gives his service to Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo and Malambe Horizon International School and he is very keen to offer his service to school players from the beginning.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021 – 01:00

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