It is ironic that the demure beauty who prefers to shy away from the limelight has inadvertently taken centre stage in her illustrious sojourn from a budding child tennis star to a professional sports personality.
Thiyumi Abeysinghe is one of the youngest Women’s National Tennis Champions in Sri Lanka winning both Singles and Doubles titles, having represented the country at many international events. Since her formative years, the only child in her family, Thiyumi was guided by her parents to maintain a balanced life, hence her ability to excel in both sports and academics, but the success has been the result of a strong determination, hard work and the will to win.
“At the age of nine I was interested in gymnastics but the very first day at tennis practices, I observed the coach who maintained a book and wrote the number of successful strikes by each player and I managed to reach a high count for a first timer which ignited a desire to continue the sport. This meant waking up at 5.30 a.m. for practices, followed by school at 7.30 a.m. and practices again in the evening. It was a strenuous workout but it was necessary in order to achieve the extraordinary as the mundane was not satisfactory”.
A high achiever, Thiyumi superseded the rest, having been chosen to represent her school and was the youngest to represent the country at the time. All this had to be balanced with her studies and being a Visakhian meant that she had to be on par with the rest of her companions academically as well.
“There were times, especially during my Ordinary Level examinations when I had classes till one in the morning.”
As the Games Captain of her school which had athletes involved in 28 sports, she also displayed an astounding capability to fulfill her responsibilities which developed her aptitude for management.
Her hard work and dedication to succeed in her every sphere, especially her stupendous performance in tennis earned her a scholarship to the University of Illinois in the USA. After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree Double Majoring in Economics and Business Administration she returned to Sri Lanka to pursue a career.
Her accomplishments are not limited to tennis alone as Thiyumi obtained her MBA and pursued a career in Law and is an Attorney-at-Law by profession at Hayleys PLC. Due to her diligence and resounding success on and off the court, she along with the sportswomen and sportsmen of her ilk have been selected to rejuvenate the sports body of our motherland through the National Sports Council (NSC) holding the position of the Appointed Secretary.
“The task is colossal and requires copious amounts of time and effort to promulgate innovative processes. Having taken on the reins at the onset of the pandemic, the challenges posed seemed insurmountable but the team have ventured forth and we have been privy to many new possibilities.
“The formative training and opportunities which I was given through tennis paved the way for my role related to sports on a national level as Sri Lanka has scores of athletes involved in 71 different sports,” enthused the dynamic champion who has never backed away from a challenge.
“Sports are highly rewarding and not confined merely to the medals but it develops a wholesome character within the individual and gives a sense of value to life.
It also teaches traits such as perseverance, resilience, team work, the ability to remain calm and composed in volatile situations and most importantly to cheer the winners despite one’s personal losses. It also creates a positive outlook to living peaceably among those who are vastly at odds with your own worldview,” added Thiyumi, who was on point with her opinion about the advantages offered through sport which is often overlooked by the hoi polloi.
While she attributes her accomplishments in life predominantly to her success in tennis, her stellar achievements are also due to her desire to challenge herself and reach higher and the remarkable ability to multitask with aplomb – I mean how many individuals do you know of, who could balance a demanding career, studies, rendezvous with friends and family, sports and more and radiate the sunshine in her soul with a stunning smile and a calm attitude? No one but our very own tennis ace Thiyumi.