Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
16-year-old American fencer aims to bring Sri Lanka glory
American-born 16-year-old Hiran Jayasekera a fencing star from California is eager to bring international glory to Sri Lanka after emerging Foil Fencing national champion in February.
He was chosen to represent Sri Lanka at the Cadet and Junior World Championship 2020, but the event cancelled due to COVID-19.
Among his many accomplishments was emerging USA Division 2 Foil Fencing Champion last year, his first gold on the North American Cup circuit.
Following a 15-4 win in the table of 256, Jayasekara posted a 15-11 victory over Braeden Miller (Missoula, Mont.) and a 15-9 win against Leonardo Song (Decatur, Ga.)
To reach the 16, Jayasekara overcame Rafferty Pegram (Towson, Md.), 15-14. A 15-12 victory over Lucas Bolton (Washington, Pa.) gave Jayasekara a place in the quarter-finals, where he secured a medal with a quick 15-7 victory over Dylan Song (Irving, Texas).
In the semifinals, Jayasekara edged out Leo Lombardi (Berkeley, Calif.), 15-12, and took gold with a close 15-14 victory over Nicholas
Saccoccio (Lynbrook, N.Y.)
The younger of twin siblings – his elder sister Ruwani is into ballet – Hiran has been a fencer since the age of nine.
“From age six to eight, I played soccer and then I started fencing at nine. One of my friends actually told me about it. It was a different kind of sport from the ones I have encountered before. At the beginning I just wanted to figure out the sport. As I started to progress, I wanted to prepare myself not only physically but mentally as well. At some point I wanted to see whether I could take part internationally,” said Hiran in an interview with the Sunday Times.
“Coming here (Sri Lanka) from America I encountered a much different style of fencing which is much more unique but challenging too,” said Hiran who wants to return to Sri Lanka after completing his studies.
“The road to Olympics is a very difficult road. I think I want to compete more internationally and may be come back to Sri Lanka in the future because I think that’s the really interesting target - to fence internationally,” said Hiran who is
also a certified USA fencing referee.
“When I first started fencing in younger competitions you still have kind of older kids referee and for a while I never got to see that side of fencing. As I got older, I was able to train to be a referee and learn the rules and how to conduct fencing bouts. I got to see a different kind of sport and I got to help younger kids learn fencing,” said the lanky youngster who is in his 12th grade and wants to do something in the medical field or science research as an academic.
Shrugging off the disappointment of missing out on representing Sri Lanka, he is determined to hone his skills and keep his focus by training.
“I think it’s important to practice or it goes away. I want to maintain the athlete that I was before coronavirus and before competitions started going away. I just want to maintain that and hopefully improve. I still have training mostly over video but I do go to the club sometimes and fence with others,” said Hiran whose coach is Alexey Kuznetsov at Le Club Touche in Mountain View, California.