Never Give Up, Never Back Down
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
Ceylon Today Features
Uvindu Jayasinghe is a person of many talents who also has an iron-will fuelled by his passion to succeed. This dedication has led Uvindu to become a member of the National Powerlifting Team, participating in many local and international tournaments and championships.
However, the journey that led the 25-year-old to where he is today has not been an easy one. Uvindu has had to face many rejections and setbacks along the way. Ceylon Today had the opportunity to have a chat with Uvindu and learn of how he overcame adversity when life put him down.
What is powerlifting?
Firstly he shares what powerlifting is all about.
“It’s a simple sport, in its own way,” Uvindu said.
“It [the sport] takes its inspiration from Olympic weightlifting. Powerlifting mainly consists of three lifts. These are, in order of competition, the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift. Each athlete has three attempts for each lift, and will attempt to lift the heaviest weight possible in each attempt. The lifter’s total, and overall ranking in the competition is calculated by simply adding the heaviest weight lifted for each of the three lifts.”
A past pupil of Royal College, Colombo, Uvindu was first introduced to the sport while pursuing his higher education at NSBM Green University.
“Back in 2018, when I was doing some lifts in the university gym, my gym instructor asked whether I was interested in taking up the sport of powerlifting. That’s where I got to know about the sport in a deeper sense,” he recalled the precise moment he was enlightened about the sport.
A way of life
Powerlifting is more than a sport for Uvindu, it’s a way of life.
Further explaining, he noted “Powerlifting became my passion over the years,” he said. “The commitment and the dedication I put into the sport automatically improved my self-confidence and made me stronger physically and mentally in many ways. Powerlifting became the turning point of my life.”
This strength comes from a physique built on and maintained through living a lifestyle that needs a lot of dedication to stick to, especially when it comes to training and maintaining a healthy diet.
“This sport requires a lot of calories in order to lift bigger weights,” explained Uvindu. “It’s not about overeating, but practicing discipline about what you eat and when you eat them. However, in the end, it’s all about what’s going on in our minds.”
Having the right mindset is equally paramount to succeeding in the sport, he opined. “Powerlifting needs a lot of motivation and an attitude to never give up. I’ve also learnt from experience that giving 100 per cent focus is needed. The same can be said to a lot of things in life. We all have to make the best of the 24 hours we have. Just like when I’m lifting, I’ve learnt that focusing on a particular thing each time will always bring the best outcome.”
Working towards a goal
Uvindu is a strong believer of working towards a goal to make it happen. At the moment, he has a few specific goals for the year 2021.
“The Sri Lanka Powerlifting Federation will be organising Asia pacific trials at the end of April 2021. There will be Powerlifting Nationals too. Because of that, these days I’m more focused on competing in the Nationals. However, my biggest goal is to compete in the Commonwealth Powerlifting Competition which will be held in New Zealand, December 2021.”
Outside the gym
When he’s not pumping iron and bending bars, Uvindu runs an online business and dabbles in music. He even revealed that he’s hoping to release an original song sometime soon.
Determination beats the odds
Although Uvindu has achieved much on the journey of being a professional athlete today, the road to getting there was not without setbacks and disappointments.
“I wanted to be a school Coloursman and a national champion in boxing when I was schooling but unfortunately, I couldn’t participate in it due to restrictions imposed by the boxing association,” he explained.
“They didn’t allow me to play in the Junior National Boxing Championship in 2016 because of changes in regulations. These were put in place as a response to prior incidents in 2015 and 2016, where a school girl and a boy had lost their lives while participating in boxing matches.
“Because of the new regulations, they allowed only players who have competed in more than three national meets to participate. By that time I had only participated in two, hence I was not eligible to participate.
“I could easily call it the biggest fall of my life, but the motivation that arose from that turned out to be my biggest strength later on. On that same day, I wrote on paper what I’m going to do in the next four years, that I will end up as a champion and I will definitely participate in an international meet.”
With hard work and determination, Uvindu has beaten the odds and has reached his ideals and continues to push his limits, moving towards the future. His story is proof that sometimes, our greatest triumphs arise from our harshest falls.
Uvindu’s message to you
Going by what he has learnt in the past years, “no matter what happens in our life, we should keep going and we should achieve all our goals. Our age or what we have doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t be giving up. We shouldn’t lose or give up on our hopes because we fall or lose once, or even multiple times. Never give up, never back down”.