Representing Sri Lanka at the World Junior Championship 2021 in the 57kg weight class, 18-year old Nethmi Fernando assures that she will work hard and bring pride to her motherland in the upcoming competition, with the exponential support of the CRYSBRO-NOCSL Next Champ scholarship programme.
Nethmi is enlisted under United World Wrestling’s (UWW) Junior World Championship, and will be part of the Women’s Wrestling 57kg weight-class. The event anticipates over 500 athletes from 52 different nations, and will be hosted in Ufa, Russia, from August 16 to 22.
“The World Junior Championship was an experience that taught me a lot. When I took part in the National Level Championship, I was eliminated in the first round. Instead of taking this as a failure, I continued to train harder, learning from my mistakes, and gave it my best at the following National Championship, emerging victorious with a Gold medal,” said Nethmi Fernando.
She said that while this was a learning curve in addition to her experience at the World Junior Championship, she has now identified her strengths and weaknesses and is training for the upcoming tournament.
She expressed that her coach and fellow trainees had to overcome many challenges to get to where they are now, and that, “We did not have any training equipment, and my coach used to watch DIY videos on making training equipment, and we used hand-made equipment. Even to participate in these tournaments, my family had to go through severe financial challenges, going to the extent of pawning their jewellery to pay for my requirements”.
“This is why I am ever so thankful for all the aid and support provided to children like me. The Next Champ programme by Crysbro and National Olympic Committee has really enabled me to carry my own performance without burdening my family or my coach. I would like to thank them for their support as it helps develop children like us and uplifts sports in our nation as well,” she added.
Crysbro’s ‘Next Champ’ programme so far has successfully paved the path towards supporting the aspirations of, and uplifting over 150 talented male and female youth athletes from Sri Lanka towards the international sports arena.
The scholarships cover the costs of nutrition, transportation, coaching fees, accommodation, clothing and sporting gear, and medical expenses necessary for the training, grooming and development of each selected athlete. Young athletes are also given access to a combination of high-value tools and world-class mentors, including foreign training exposures.
Additionally, Crysbro, along with the NOCSL, kicked off ‘Next Olympic Hope’, an extension of the ‘Next Champ’ scholarship programme, to allow the public to support 20 young athletes selected from the NOCSL-CRYSBRO Next Champ programme, who have proven themselves through multiple wins in both the local and international arenas.
Through ‘Next Olympic Hope’, Sri Lankans living within and outside the country can make well-deserved donations to support these young and budding athletes, via www.nextolympichope.com.
Crysbro Next Champ not only recognizes and rewards young sporting talent from all corners of the country, but also grooms budding athletes from multiple sporting disciplines with guidance from experts on aspects such as proper training methods and a suitable diet. The project’s founding vision sought to bolster Crysbro’s already significant social contribution as a key pillar of the country’s rural economy, thus creating sporting opportunities and promoting the message of staying physically and mentally active.