Ruwan Paul to promote powerlifting in Sri Lanka | Daily News

Ruwan Paul to promote powerlifting in Sri Lanka

World Powerlifting Director Robert Wilks (on left) congratulating Ruwan Paul for being appointed international Powerlifting Brand Ambassador.
World Powerlifting Director Robert Wilks (on left) congratulating Ruwan Paul for being appointed international Powerlifting Brand Ambassador.

In a bid to give due recognition to the sport of Powerlifting a Sri Lankan dual citizen now based in Australia has launched a mega drive to popularize it in the island.

“Sri Lankan history talks of many giants like ‘Dasamaha Yodayas’ (Ten Giants) who have helped ancient kings to win wars, create historic monuments and irrigation landmarks which are still evident,” said international award winner Ruwan Paul.

Hence Sri Lankans still have these strengths in their DNA and one needs to mould them to reach international standards and this should be started at the age of 14. “To meet this objective I have decided to launch a special project, ‘PLUS’ from my Ja-Ela Training Centre targetting not only teenagers but also people up to the age of 70 plus.

“I still love my country and felt that I should do more towards its Powerlifting segment and have invested around Rs. 70 million to set up this PLUS, a training and practising venue for the development of Powerlifting.”

“I hope to officially launch this centre by end of 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic settles and hope to offer membership for the public to join in. Through this membership fees I will offer coaching scholarships for school children to train, free of charge.”

He said that powerlifting is a unique sport where the athletes do not have to retire unlike most of the other sports. “I personally created an Australian national Powerlifting record in 2018 by lifting 220 KG and then in two years bettered it to 222 KG at the age of 52. I know of a 70

year old lady who broke the world Powerlifting record in Oceania Games in Hong Kong in 2020.”

Recalling his past he said he was a football player playing for the Navy and Sri Lanka team. A former Lieutenant Commander of the Navy he also excelled in karate. However during operations he suffered a head injury in a LTTE led Motor Attack in Arali and was airlifted to Colombo and was in hospital for seven months battling for his life.

After his recovery he dangled on to serve in the Navy but after the change of government in 2002 due to political victimisation he decided to leave Sri Lanka taking wing to Australia.

Due to the after effects of the operation on my head I started to gather weight and decided to move to the sport of Powerlifting. After intense training I am proud to say that I went on to create two Australian national Records for ‘Squat’ in Australian Masters Games in 2019 beating over 400 participants and ended up been selected to Australian National Team and later was picked for International Powerlifting Competition in Hong Kong.

Paul has achieved many firsts in Australia winning more medals and was also a competitor at the Asia Pacific Masters Championship and New Zealand Masters Championship. At the Asia Pacific Championship Paul was able to win two gold medals and the best achievement by him came when competing in New Zealand where he won three gold medals.

He was also made an international Powerlifting Brand Ambassador after these notable feats.

He said he plans to visit Sri Lanka and meet the local Federation officials and discuss how he could asset in the development of the sport. I also hope to meet the local Powerlifting Body schools Associations and also to discuss and plan future promotions.

“I can provide financial and technical assistance for the coaching programmes too.”

He said that Sri Lanka Sports under the new Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa seems to be gathering momentum.

Both Australian and New Zealand Powerlifting Associations have shown a willingness to arrange international Championships in Sri Lanka in 2022 which will be of great importance also for Sports tourism promotions. He also said the there is a global increasing demand for Powerlifting equipment and some of these can be made locally and exported adding a ‘new product’ to Sri Lankans export basket.

“For example a branded Powerlifting T- shirt costs around Rs. 8,000 and this could be made in Sri Lanka under franchise and exported.