Tharushi targets an Olympic Gold
I had confidence about Tharushi’ s 800 metres gold medal before this Asian Games while her achievement of last Asian Athletic championship and her training timing helped her to win Asian Games medal said Susantha Fernando the coach of Tharushi Karunaratne after Tharushi‘s gold medal in China in an exclusive interview with the Daily News yesterday. The dedication and commitment of Tharushi paved the way to get this success added Susantha Fernando who is with Tharushi Karunaratne in China.
I must give credit to our Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe and without his support I couldn’t join the Asian Games squad. I think the presence of coach is very vital for any athlete and Minister realized this after the Asian Athetic championship and he added my name for this Asian Games and last minute I had the opportunity to come to China said coach Susantha Fernando.
He is presently working as Zonal Physical Education Director of Walala, Digana area pointed out we made two plans for Tharushi Karunaratne at the 800 m final on how to run at slow pace and how to run speedily and at this final Tharushi ran the race according to my plan and that was the result of this Gold which is after 21 years an Athletic gold for Sri Lanka. The way Tharushi ran in first round (400m) I knew she ran the race very well.
The athlete always intelligent to realize the pattern of the race and Tharushi Karunaratne is very special athlete compared to my other athletes. She always think about and use her brain to run the race said Susantha Fernando the head coach of Walala A Ratnayake MMV.
If this 800m final was run at full speed from the beginning Tharushi could accelerate and she could have set up a new Asian Games record but the race was slow and Tarushi knew about it and finally went for the gold with more confidence.
In addition Tharushi knew how to manage her events. She ran 400m with good speed (50.8sec) and with this speed she could have easily run under two minutes (1.57secunds) to enter the record book but main thing she focused on her gold. Winning gold is very happy but main thing is to maintain endurance to run her events.
We had to face big challenge as 800m final and 400x 4 women’s relay events time difference only 40 minutes and even the All Island school level meet very difficult to run two races with in 40 minutes.
Anyway 800m race ended at a slow pace and that was good to keep endurance for Tharushi to run relay and two team doctors Dr. Chatura and Chaturanga and Masseur Harsha made good service to get Tharushi ready for 400m relay and her speedy run made sure to win bronze medal at 400m women’s relay and that was exceptional said coach Susantha Fernando.
Tharushi came to grade 7 at Walala central as a 12 years student and realized her talent and I used scientific methods to realize and talent identification is more vital. She has born talent and I always brushed it up to get upto this level.
I produced several international athletes in my 33 year old coaching career. After I left from Bandarawela College of Education (first batch) I use to do my role as a coach and my knowledge always updated to do my service. A coach has very important role in athletics and officials should realize coaches duty and give priority for coaches. If I couldn’t come to Asian Games Tharushi had difficulty to make a plan at the race as well as her training. As the coach we have big responsibility and everyone knows Tharushi is still 19-year-old girl and guidance is very important at this type of meet.
We got details about her two key 800m opponents from China and India and according to their achievement we made special plan and it worked out as we expected. She won Asian athetic championship gold, Asian under 20 (youth) Championship gold and now Asian Games gold triple gold within a short period.
Tharushi ran 51.0 seconds atlast lap of the 400m really. Sri Lanka really team passed Vietnam team whowon Asian Championship gold and that was incredible after 800m final.
The endurance of athlete always very vital. After 12 years speed and endurance both open for any athlete and we have plans for Tharushi after 12 years and develop her endurance as well as speed always do as a plan.
Tharushi is an unusual character. She never fear the race but when she gets fear just before the race it could make better race and her mentality always very strong. She ran with a plan and won the gold. After she was placed first she came to meet me and said Sir this race was slow and I ran according to that plan. If she ran below 2 minutes she could get direct Olympic qualification but race was slow and she couldn’t get that achievement. She is the youngest athlete of 800m final. She has to go a long journey. We can expect Olympic medal from Tharushi next year France.
Olympics our first target is get to qualification and before this Olympics we hope to compete in Europe meets to get Olympic qualification (1.59sec)and our target is direct qualification.Sri Lanka never get direct qualification for Olympic 800m and last time Nimali Liyanarachchi also got wild card qualification for 800m. She is also studying well and focused on exam and never mixed with sport.
Her father is a Three-wheeler driver and mother is a house wife and has a brother and sister Walala Central Principal Dhammika Herath, staff members especially my Physical education teaches do superb job to get Tarushi for this level. Tharushi always gratitude to all coaches, her school, sports Ministry and NOC as well as Damro Group, Derana Media Group for giving good support.
Meanwhile Tharushi Karunaratne the champion athlete said she had a plan to win Asian Games gold with a new record and her next target is to win Olympic medal and hope seeks blessings and support to go on this journey.