Kumudu Prasanna who created history by winning the first-ever gold medal in kick boxing held in Bangkok, Thailand is now working as a Koththu (food) maker in the Horana area.
Prasanna, who hails from Horana, was unable to pursue higher studies and has no regrets about it, as he became a successful Thai kick-boxer, a sport with a high risk of sustaining physical injuries.
Speaking to the Sunday Observer he said he was never afraid to fight but his biggest fight now is that he is facing a huge crisis to survive with the basics.
“Currently, I’m supplying the raw “koththu rotty” to hotels in Horana. It’s tough to survive.
My wife Rasanjali is a graduate and she’s unemployed too. With other commitments around, we are going through a bad patch, but she is someone who has appreciated my sporting achievements. That’s the biggest comfort I have at present,” said Prasanna.
Most of the Thai kick boxers are employed in the armed forces and it’s a tragedy that Prasanna is virtually unemployed.
Prasanna won the bout in the 60kg weight category, against a formidable Thai fighter whose professional record is more impressive than the gritty Sri Lankan’s. His mentor and coach, Asoka Jayaratne described Prasanna as a kind and energetic person bubbling with excitement.
“I was working as a motivational speaker as well as a coach and I have spent on Prasanna’s airfares,” said Jayaratne.
Prasanna also claims that he has what is needed to pocket a medal at the 2022 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan if only he can be sponsored by someone to take him out of his “Koththu business”.
“My main ambition is to go for the Olympics in Tokyo, win a medal there, most probably a Gold in my weight category,” said Prasanna.
Jayaratne who is also the president of the Sri Lanka Muay Thai Association said the Association was formed after Prasanna’s achievement in the international arena.
Professional kick boxing doesn’t have proper safety measures. Annually some 500 athletes die during professional competitions. Recently a child died in Thailand who fought to raise money for his schooling.
Prasanna is at the head of over 450 other athletes engaged in this sport from seven districts in Sri Lanka.
At present, other than the Muay Thai Association of Sri Lanka (MTASL), the official governing body representing Sri Lanka at international Muay Thai competitions, there are a few domestic clubs.
The sport gained some headway in Sri Lanka, with a National championship conducted a couple of years ago.