Ananda College, Colombo student Senura Silva is a table tennis prodigy who oozes confidence and is hungry to bring glory to Sri Lanka in the international arena. The 15-year-old is ranked third in the Men’s Open category and the top-ranked junior table tennis star in the country. Junior National champion in 2018 and 2019, he has adjudged the most outstanding player on both occasions after bagging the four titles – Boys under-15 singles, Boys Under-18 singles, Under-18 Boys doubles, and Under-18 Mixed doubles.
Gold medalist at the 2019 South Asian Hopes, Cadet, and Junior Table Tennis Championship, Nepal, he represented the Sri Lanka senior national team at the 24th Asian Table Tennis championship in Indonesia in 2019. The youngest table tennis competitor at the 2019 South Asian Games in Kathmandu, Nepal, he became the first Anandian to represent Sri Lanka in the sport being a member of the bronze medal-winning team. “My target is to win a gold medal for Sri Lanka at the South Asian Games (SAG) in table tennis,” said Senura who fell in love with the racquet sport at the tender age of four.
“My parents are table tennis champions and since we had a table at home I started playing from a young age,” said Senura who studied at Isipathana till Grade IV before moving to Ananda College because of his prowess in table tennis. Eldest in a family of three, Pitiyage Don Senura Dilanka Silva has table tennis running in his genes being the son of former national stars Indika Prasad and Deepika Rodrigo. Prasad, a former Sri Lanka player who has won medals at the South Asian level, runs an academy in Nawala and has been Senura’s coach from childhood.
His mother Deepika, a nine-time national singles champion and SAG silver medallist is also his mentor and greatest fan. His coach at Ananda is Nishan Perera. Senura’s younger brother eight-year-old Kenura has also started playing table tennis. Senura first tasted success at the Western Province tournament when he became Under-8 champion. He first represented Sri Lanka in the junior level from the age of 11 in 2016 and the senior category at the age of 14 in 2019. He represented Sri Lanka at the World Junior Table Tennis Championship on several occasions, winning a bronze in the Under-12 singles in India.
He was also part of the team which won the silver at the South Asian Junior Championships in the Maldives. Among his other achievements are being ranked 86th in the world when he was Under 15, being in the first 32 at the 2018 Junior Cadet Championship in Thailand, and among the top 16 in a tournament in Oman. Semi-finalist at the 2019 Senior National Championship where he won the singles and doubles titles, Senura emerged runner up at the Maheepala Herath Challenge Trophy tournaments and Western Province All Island Ranking tournament held this year for the first time after the spread of COVID-19.
He is also participating in trials to be selected for the High-Performance pool. “I practice about three hours a day. I am confident of achieving my goals with hard work and training. I am grateful for all the support I received, especially from my former Principal Kithsiri Liyanagamage and present Principal S.M. Keerthiratne at Ananda,” said Senura who received a two-year scholarship from the National Olympic Committee’s NOCSL-Crysbro next Olympic hope project. An attacking player with a shake handgrip seems destined to go places in the sport which has become the love of his life.