|Sri Lanka tennis player makes Olympic history|
Sharmal Dissanayake from Sri Lanka will make history in Nanjing when he becomes the first Sri Lankan tennis player to compete at an Olympic Games.
The groundbreaking 18-year-old said that he is trying to put the honor to the back of his mind after a nightmarish few months.
Dissanayake dislocated his right patella during training in Autumn 2013 and has seen his world ranking plummet as a result.
Two months of intense training means he is approaching the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games with renewed optimism that he can cause an upset or two.
He said: “I’m still working on my fitness but my recovery has been going quite well in the last two months. My ranking went from something like 180 down to 370 so I have some catching up to do.”
“It is a big honor to be the first from Sri Lanka but I am trying not to put too much in my head. This will always be one of my achievements.”
Dissanayake added: “I have competed against a lot of the players who are here in Nanjing and had pretty close matches. I’m definitely aiming for the quarterfinals.”
Despite his youth, Dissanayake has played Davis Cup tennis matches for Sri Lanka and his experience of playing against men has convinced him that he can reach the top 150 in the world when he joins the senior tour.
There are only nine athletes from Sri Lanka in Nanjing but their presence in China is big news back home.
“I’m getting calls every day,” Dissanayake said. “Everyone is interested in what’s happening.”