Athletic coach Zoysa hits back at detractors, has the last laugh over doping test | Sunday Observer

Athletic coach Zoysa hits back at detractors, has the last laugh over doping test

8 September, 2019
Vimukthi Zoysa
Vimukthi Zoysa

Athletic coach Vimukthi Zoysa has charged that due to personal issues, some veteran athletes who are now coaches in Sri Lanka have launched out of a smear campaign to tarnish his image as a coach despite producing medal winning sportsmen and women.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Observer he claimed that senior coaches were “jealous” of him and didn’t want new athletic coaches to prosper in Sri Lanka.

“They are spreading false information that I am not a qualified coach who cannot produce elite athletes in Sri Lanka.

“I can confidently say that after Sugath Tillekaratne the so-called veteran coaches have failed to produce another athlete who can win at international level,” said Zoysa.

He said Sugath Tillekaratne was trained by a PTI teacher who did not have any paper qualifications.

“I have completed a level Two course in strength conditioning and man management and was selected to coach the national athletic team in India. So why was I selected instead of the senior coaches of Sri Lanka.

“After Tillekaratne, my athlete Vinod Suraj broke a 20 year-old record last year. Why are athletes of the so-called senior coaches unable to break any records yet. Most of them are jealous of me and my coaching style,” said Zoysa.

“I was invited by the Olympic mission in India targeting the 2024 Olympics. I did the coaching for two weeks and now waiting for their consent to continue with them,” said Zoysa.

Many Sri Lankan coaches reportedly sent petitions to India claiming that Zoyza’s athlete Kalinga Kumarage was tested positive by the Anti Doping unit.

But Indian officials giving consideration to Zoyza’s prowess and experience along with past results, brushed off the allegations.

“I am the only Sri Lankan who worked and coached the Indian Sheik army regiment which is a strong segment in the Indian army,” said Zoyza.

Sri Lanka’s 400m and 200m athlete Kalinga Kumarage was temporarily banned in January by the Sri Lanka Anti-Doping Agency (SLADA) for having used banned substances.

Initial tests proved that Kumarage had used a banned substance called Anabolic-Androgenic steroid while participating at the Army meet held in October at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

But the medical lab in India that tested the sample of Kumarage was nullified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) this month and the question asked now is whether the results provided by it can be taken as legitimate.

“Kumarage runs faster after I took over his coaching and he has now spent nearly Rs 1.2 million on legal fees to prove his innocence,” claimed Zoysa.

Zoyza said his vision at hand is to prepare Vinod Suranjaya, who bounced back after a knee injury to win the 200m at the recently concluded Nationals, for the Olympics.

Another athlete whom Zoysa trained was para runner Amara Indumathi who won medals at the Para World Championship and Para Asian event.

President of the Athletics Association, retired General Palitha Fernando, is said to be throwing his weight behind Zoysa.