Minagi Rupasinghe:

A swimmer who challenges and wins against herself

by Test User
September 17, 2023 1:07 am 0 comment 1.2K views


In the world of competitive swimming, records are made to be broken and Sri Lanka’s Minagi Rupasinghe is proving herself to be a record-breaking force to be reckoned with.

This young swimmer recently made headlines by becoming a double national record holder in the 800m freestyle and 1500m freestyle events for Sri Lanka. Her remarkable achievements unfolded at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, held in the picturesque city of Netanya in Israel just last week.

Based in the United Kingdom, Rupasinghe’s journey to aquatic excellence has been nothing short of impressive. At the championship in Netanya, she showcased her incredible talent by setting two new national records.

In the 800m freestyle, she shattered the previous record by an astonishing 11 seconds. But that was just the beginning. Rupasinghe also renewed her own 1500m freestyle record, improving it by an incredible 36 seconds. These remarkable improvements within a year’s time are a testament to her dedication and hard work, nurtured under the tutelage of the Wycombe District Swimming Club in Great Britain.

On the third day of the competition, Rupasinghe etched her name in Sri Lanka’s swimming history books by creating a new national record in the 800m freestyle, clocking an impressive 9 minutes and 37.56 seconds. Her astounding achievement erased the previous national record of 9:47.65, which had been held by Ramudi Samarakoon since the 2019 World Junior Championship in Hungary. Not content with just one record, Rupasinghe continued to shine on the final day of the competition, improving her 1500m freestyle record with a remarkable time of 18 minutes and 38.07 seconds, eclipsing her previous national record of 19 minutes and 14.97 seconds, established at the 46th National Age Group Championships in Colombo just last year.

While her standout performances in the 800m and 1500m freestyle events collected the spotlight, Rupasinghe also swam personal best times in several other events, including the 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle.

In an exclusive interview, Rupasinghe shared her thoughts on her journey so far: “It was an honor and a privilege. It was just as exciting as the first time I ever represented Sri Lanka. It was a good feeling knowing that all my hard work had paid off and I was able to compete on the world stage.

“This was my second time participating at the World Junior Aquatic Championships. I represented Sri Lanka at the World Junior Aquatic Championships in Peru in 2022 as well,” she said.

Her journey to success began early and Rupasinghe has been making waves in the swimming world since her school days. “I represented Sri Lanka at the South Asian Games in 2019 and was placed fourth in the 200m backstroke event. I was one of the youngest athletes to make the national team for the Games. I also participated in the Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in 2019 held in India,” she recalled.

Rupasinghe’s love for swimming transcends pool boundaries. “I have always been good at middle-distance and long-distance events. When I was younger, my main event was the 200m Backstroke. I have also showed talent in the sea swims. At fourteen, I won the bronze medal at the Ambalangoda Open two-mile sea swim and the Under 15 Championship Trophy at the 82nd Mount Lavinia Two Mile Sea Swim.

“Later on, I tried doing distance events in the pool and soon realized that it was my strength. At the very first time I took part in the 1500m freestyle event, I was able to establish a national record,” she revealed.

Rupasinghe’s journey has been marked by unwavering support from coaches and mentors at St Bridget’s Convent and Stafford International School. “Coaches Janaka Prasad and Ranathunga laid a good foundation and developed me to be a good swimmer and they have supported me throughout my swimming career.

Then I joined Ruwan Manawadu’s training squad, under whose guidance I won sea swims and junior national events. Later, I joined Killer Whale Aquatics.

“Manoj Abeysinghe took me under his wings and prepared me for the international stage, which is very challenging and different from the national arena. It is under his guidance that I competed at the last edition of the South Asian Games and also set multiple junior national records. At present, I train at Wycombe District Swimming Club in the United Kingdom. The experience and exposure I get here are extremely valuable and I have been able to significantly improve my swimming,” she shared.

With her sights set firmly on the future, Rupasinghe’s ultimate goal is the Olympics. “The dream of any elite athlete is the Olympics and so is mine. It is a long and demanding journey, but I am determined to make it. My immediate goal is to perform well and win medals for Sri Lanka at the upcoming South Asian Games in 2024. My greatest honour is to represent Sri Lanka and perform well, whatever the competition may be,” she affirmed.

“I love swimming. I have been doing it for the past 13 years and couldn’t imagine my life without it. In addition to that, I like to win. I want to do great things for Sri Lanka and bring glory to my country. I don’t really have any specific role model in sport. I believe that I need to be the best I can be in sport as well as in life in general, which includes being a good person,” she said.

Currently, Rupasinghe resides in Oxford, United Kingdom, where she has commenced on a new journey as a university student, studying to become a lawyer. Her swimming journey began when she was just six years old, as her parents believed that swimming is a vital life skill. It was a decision that would ultimately set her on the path to becoming one of Sri Lanka’s most promising young athletes.

Minagi Rupasinghe’s story is not just about breaking records but also about determination, hard work and the pursuit of excellence. As she continues to make waves in the world of swimming, she is undoubtedly an inspiration for aspiring athletes in Sri Lanka and beyond, proving that with dedication and a passion for one’s craft, the sky is the limit.

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