Chandrika de Silva-undisputed shuttle queen 1997-2003 | Daily News

Chandrika de Silva-undisputed shuttle queen 1997-2003

She first held a badminton racquet at the tender age of 11 when schooling at Swarnapali Vidyalaya Anuradhapura. Her raw talent coupled with determination won many accolades at junior level. She was The National Badminton Champion from 1997 and 2003, won a Silver Medal at the 2004 SAF Games and won a Silver and a Bronze at the over 40’s Badminton Championships which was concluded recently.

I met Chandrika De Silva at the HNB Cinnamon Gardens Branch where she is employed as an Executive Officer. Chandrika has clocked 20 years at this bank.

Chandrika’s road to success was not a “bed of roses” she came from a family of five boys and three girls and there was only one bread winner, her late father who was a depot inspector at the CTB. It was hard; her mother had to accompany her to Colombo for the tournaments. Fortunately The Sports Minister S.B. Dissanayake helped Chandrika to maintain her career from the age of 19 to 23, by giving a grant of Rs 3000/ a month.

She was coached by Vijitha De Silva, Pushpakumara and a host of others including a head coach from China. The Chinese coaches had first hand experience more than the paper qualifications stressed Chandrika which was effective.

When Chandrika was at the helm of her career there were hardly any tours she lamented, then the Sri Lanka Badminton Association Presidents were Eraj Wijesinghe, Dr A.R.L. Wijesekera and Sam Chandrasena. She lamented the fact that she hardly had any competition from the local girls during her tenure and there were no goals to reach it was also frustrating because she was not sent for foreign competitions.

Although she missed the bus when she was at her peak in 2011 she represented the over 35’s in Canada and beat the Canadian Champion, to win the Gold.

Chandrika admits that badminton is very well organised in India just behind China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Denmark and they are a class apart. India too is World Class. The two top Indian women’s players Sina Nhewal and P.V.Sindhu are still world class and she observes that Sina although not highly talented has an extremely good defence and tons of stamina to wear down opponent whereas Sindhu is tall and more attacking.

Chandrika noted that there is no stability in The Badminton Association of Sri Lanka, Presidents come and go most of them treat it as a ceremonial post and some of them no next to nothing about badminton. However, she admitted that the present President Rohan De Silva is trying to do a good job because badminton is in his blood. He apparently spentds his own money in sponsoring young players.

Chandrika is not scared to admit that Sri Lanka badminton is tainted with politics and the writer wholeheartedly agrees and s he further adds that the cancer had spread to all other sports except “Elle and Chuck Gudu.” Chandrika has a wealth of experience and she is eve ready to help the Association if she is offered to help and she is not the type to barge in.

Another problem in badminton of Sri Lanka is that the parents of young children are sent for coaching under people who hardly knows the subject and as a result the kids badminton career is totally ruined. It is a bit like the “Cricket Kade’s” at practically sprouting all over the place.

Chandrika blames The Association for the above, the solution she said was to select competent coaches and send them Island wide, Badminton is not a costly sport as cricket so the village children could well afford it.She added that The Association should pump some money to promote this project.

Chandrika assessed players of different countries as follows :The Chinese were very flexible, The Danish were technically very good and strong and the Indians were resilient and had staying power.

In Sri Lanka Chandrika pointed out that Badminton is strong in Ambalangoda, Galle and Anuradhapura. She mentioned that the players who came from Ambalngoda had a diet of red blooded fish and as a result they were strong and had the never say die attitude Dharmasoka College produced many good players, L.R.Ariyananda was one. .Galle is the same and Southlands produced Waduge sisters who were the doubles champions of Sri Lanka before Chandrika’s time.The players who come from these districts were very much focussed and target orientated concluded Chandrika.

She was sent to Bangalore for a two week coaching stint with Prakash Padukone(father of Deepika Padukone) one time All England Badminton Champion.

This was to prepare for the Commonwealth Games held in Manchester.Padukone was highly impressed by Chandrika’s back hand and he lamented that Chandrika should have come three years before so that he could have trained her to beat all the girls in India.Chandrika’s forte was her back hand she was quite adept at the smash,drop and overhead shots aiming at the far corners.Recently she got a scholarship to attend a comprehensive two month coaching programme in Hungary, and we sincerely hope that the Sports Ministry will take note and utilise Chandrika’s vast knowledge and put it to good use.


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