Aug 02 2016. view 478
Buzz!!!! With Danu - Lakshan Wanniarachchi
Full Name - Lakshan Chandima Wanniarachchi
Hometown - Moratuwa
Status - Extremely happily married
Birthday - 10 September, 1979
Idols - Jesus Christ, Roger Federer, Muttaiah Muralidaran, Kumar Sangakkara, Dan Carter, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Pope Francis, Malala Yousafzai
Passions - My wife, Scrabble (my mistress), travelling to foreign countries and food.
Favourite Colour - Blue
When did you fall in love with Scrabble?
It was not love at first sight - it started more as a hobby, until I represented the country at my first couple of international tournaments in 1998/99, and from there onwards, I was in love with Scrabble.
I’m so not a Scrabble person, and I have to ask you, why Scrabble?
At the start, it was to do with words. I found I was good at it. But once I started getting better, it was strategy, outsmarting / outthinking your opponent. It keeps me enthralled. Once I started participating in international tournaments, the social aspect of Scrabble was heightened.
Tell me about the record you hold together with Yeshan Jayasuriya.
This Guinness World Record was for the most number of Scrabble points scored in 24 hours. We achieved in in November 2012. Yeshan was a schoolboy at the time and a scrabble prodigy – a product of the best school, S Thomas’ College, which was my alma mater as well. The record at the time was approximately 170,000 points, a recent attempt at the time by two Australians, which was yet to be recognized by Guinness World Records. The official record was approximately 162,000 points by two Englishmen. We smashed both, to record 196,525 points.
But you also hold another record, what is that?
The Guinness World Record for the most number of Scrabble opponents. This was achieved in January 2015, when I played against 40 people simultaneously, beating the previous record of 28, held by an Australian.
Who is your biggest fan?
My wife. She is my inspiration, my tower of strength, and my motivator when I feel like giving up. Oh, and my best friend (who is my wife’s cousin), now living in Singapore – he happened to be the one who introduced me to Scrabble as well as played cupid for my wife and me.
Should one have a large vocabulary to play Scrabble?
It depends on the level one wants to play at. Scrabble is a very interesting social game, and for social playing, an average vocabulary is sufficient. The thing is that with each game, your vocabulary improves with the new words you get to know. However if one wants to seriously compete at tournaments, a higher vocabulary is required and systematic study of words on a constant basis is necessary.
How has life changed after the world records?
Well, I have received quite some recognition. The records were intended to garner local interest in the game, which was achieved to some extent. The achievements bring a certain amount of credibility when I try to promote the game at various levels.
Did any government institution help you out?
To be quite frank - NO.
Who has been your biggest support?
Financially, my previous employer, Sampath Bank has always given me substantial sponsorships for my Guinness Records as well as all the World Scrabble Championships where I have represented Sri Lanka.
What have you planned for the future?
I plan to continue to improve my game, in order to maintain my position as the Number 1 ranked Sri Lankan player – something I have maintained unbroken since 2002. This would enable me to represent Sri Lanka at World Championships, where my target is to one day achieve a Top 10 ranking. I have received approval of Guinness World Records for another record attempt – for the most number of games played in 24 hours – which I hope to do early next year.
Do you feel the younger generation will keep this sport alive?
Yes. Our World Youth Scrabble Championship team were placed Number 1 at the last Championship held in Perth in November 2015. Also, there is increased interest in schools due to the improvements the game can bring to a person’s English knowledge – which is a dire need in the country.
In the Spot?
What are your thoughts on the new government? And are you happy with all the changes and progress?
As a person who made a significant amount of statements on social media to usher in change, I feel disappointed and discouraged with the way certain aspects have gone after the changes came in. In some ways, I feel, the country has taken a step backward. Having said that, I am certainly happy about some aspects such as the higher efforts in communal harmony and reconciliation and the recognition at international level we have achieved.
Do you feel that the country supported you enough?
Up to now, all support that I have received (especially financial) has been from the private sector.
How do you think more attention can be given to sports like scrabble?
Sports like Scrabble have an inherent issue, since they are not “spectator” sports. Due to this, there is less publicity. Due to less publicity, there is less sponsorship. This is a vicious cycle, that is very difficult to be broken, not only in Sri Lanka, but in most other countries as well. Large scale government / private sector sponsorship is required to make this sufficiently noticeable to the public.
If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?
Trust in God, and do your best.
If you could add one sentence to the Sri Lankan Constitution, what would it say?
Any person wishing to hold public office in the Government of Sri Lanka, should be suitably qualified / experienced.
If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be?
Assuming it be local, Kumar Sangakkara (sports), Ranil Wickramasinghe (politics) and Danu Innasithamby (arts). Internationally, it would be Pope Francis, Donald Trump (no – I don’t support him, I would love to take him to pieces on the show) and Roger Federer.
Choose your age forever, what age would you choose and why?
37 (my current age) – I am right now the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. While it could get better in the future, I don’t know that – hence would love to remain this way forever.
Have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?
If this was ever asked, I would say “wish that everything I wish comes true”, but
1) Harmony between people and wars / violence to stop
2) All ill effects to the environment done by manmade pollution to be instantly reversed
3) To live a life of contentment.
Have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?
Um, this is difficult. Since this is going to be what I eat everyday (since it's unlimited), I would have to say rice, pol sambol, kiri hodi (milk gravy) and beef curry.
Ask Christ to change one problem in the world today, what would you like him to change?
Stop wars / violence.
Be an Olympic athlete, what sport would you compete in?
Athletics – 100 m / 200 m / 4X100 m (Usain Bolt).
Be in the movie of your choice, what movie would you choose and what character would you play?
Difficult choice. I’ve narrowed it down to 2, which are Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump played by Tom Hanks) and A Few Good Men (Lt. Daniel Kaffee played by Tom Cruise).
Be someone else, who would you be?
Barack Obama (particularly right now since I would have been the most powerful person on earth for 8 years, and am about to get back to living a normal life).
Buy a car right now, what would you buy?
Toyota Harrier Hybrid (be friendly to the environment – and am not that flashy).
Change anything about yourself, what would you change?
To be quite honest, I love the way that God has made me, but for argument's sake, I'd like to be taller, and be more goal-oriented.