Yeheni Kuruppu’s Historic Win Sparks New Era

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In a remarkable turn of events within Sri Lanka’s squash arena, Yeheni Kuruppu, who previously ranked 290th globally, emerged victorious in the YETI-sponsored 43rd Senior National Squash Championship last Sunday. Her journey, in beating defending champion Chanithma Sinaly (157th in world rankings), not only secured her the national champion title but sparked a revolution in Sri Lankan squash.

“After training rigorously, I yearned to claim this title, knowing I had to wait a whole year for the national championship. The pressure was there, but I focused on winning point by point and securing the title,” shared Yeheni, reflecting on her victorious moment.

Previously holding a world ranking of 290, Yeheni’s triumph elevated her to 222 after becoming the national champion for the first time in her career.

Ranked third in Sri Lanka, Yeheni triumphed over Fathoum Issadeen, the second-ranked player and a three-time national champion, in the semi-finals. In a breathtaking final, she conquered Chanithma Sinaly, last year’s champion and the highest-ranking player in Sri Lanka.

“I am truly happy to be the National Champion for the first time. Defeating a three-time National Champion in the semi-final and the defending champion in the final is a dream come true,” expressed Yeheni with infectious joy.

An alumna of Visakha Vidyalaya, Yeheni completed her Advanced Level in the Arts Stream in 2023. Currently enrolled at the University of Kelaniya, she aspires to pursue her squash practices and studies at either the University of Sri Jayewardenepura or the University of Colombo.

Yeheni’s squash revolution began post her Advanced Level when she ventured into her first PSA overseas tournament in Bangladesh earlier this year, emerging as the champion.

“Even while studying at the university, squash takes priority for me,” emphasized Yeheni, shedding light on her dedication to the sport.

The 20-year-old athlete is preparing for a PSA World Ranking Tournament in India scheduled for January 2024, showcasing her ambition on the global stage.

In comparing squash to other sports, Yeheni highlighted its immense potential for professional growth, especially through PSA tournaments worldwide. “It’s like a trading platform with competitions in 1K, 2K, 3K, etc. Saving and investing can open doors to more tournaments. Initially, a push is crucial,” she acknowledged.

Dreaming of representing Sri Lanka in South Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and Asian Games, Yeheni stressed the importance of participating in PSA tournaments to secure higher seedings in draws.

The Senior National Championship and Sri Lanka Air Force Open tournament, both PSA events, allowed athletes to accumulate points for world rankings.

Yeheni revealed her strategic approach, opting for Asian countries’ PSA tournaments to minimize costs. She played four PSA tournaments in Sri Lanka this year, and after her Advanced Levels, she participated in the championship in Bangladesh, securing victory.

Despite challenges, Yeheni found support from key individuals. Sri Lanka Squash President Dhammika Wijesundara aided her in finding sponsors, with Kapila Gunasekara and Amanda Weerasinghe offering valuable assistance. Yeheni acknowledged the financial support for PSA membership renewal, training, and other costs.

Squash experts emphasized the need for sponsors to uplift the sport, particularly during players’ initial professional periods.

Yeheni conducts her practices at Colombo Cricket Club at Gymkhana Squash Court, expressing gratitude to Sri Lanka Cricket President Shammi Silva for providing free facilities since her childhood.

“I want to express my gratitude to Shammi Silva, who generously offers me free access to squash courts for my practice sessions with security at any time. Additionally, my gym, FIIT in Narahenpita, provides me with complimentary training facilities. These two clubs have been instrumental in supporting my training journey by offering free access to their excellent training facilities,” she conveyed with appreciation.

Yeheni acknowledged her long-time coach Anura Hewage, who, due to illness, recommended Viduranga Udantha, a PSA player and among the top five squash players in the country.

Yeheni Kuruppu’s triumph is more than a victory in a squash tournament—it’s a symbol of dedication, ambition, and the transformative power of sport. As she paves her path towards new horizons, Yeheni’s journey promises to inspire not just squash enthusiasts but a generation of aspiring athletes in Sri Lanka.


Yeheni Kuruppu
Yeheni Kuruppu receives her Senior National Squash Title from Chief Guest, former Sri Lanka Squash President Rear Admiral Palitha Weerasinghe (Rtd). The current SLS President, Dhammika Wijesundara, is seen in the center.
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