Former Thomian rower is Sri Lanka’s sole flag bearer at world archery | Sunday Observer

Former Thomian rower is Sri Lanka’s sole flag bearer at world archery

30 July, 2023
Sajeev de Silva’s unwavering focus and precision shine bright as he competes at the prestigious Asian Archery Championships 2021 in Bangladesh-Sajeev de Silva demonstrates his mastery of the bow

Sajeev de Silva, a former rower from S Thomas’ College, will represent Sri Lanka as the sole participant at the esteemed Berlin 2023 Hyundai World Archery Championships scheduled to take place from July 31 to August 6 where 80 participants from around the world will compete.

De Silva’s journey from rowing to archery has been an inspiring one. Having represented Sri Lanka in rowing at the 2010 China Asian Games in the Doubles Skull event with Anandian Guyan Jayaratne, De Silva decided to change his path and pursue a career in archery after completing his school tenure.

He was a prominent figure during his time as the Thomian rowing captain in 2010, displaying his dedication to sports.

“I thought of archery or shooting because I love it. I had a passion for it and I also practiced shooting during my time at S Thomas’ College,” De Silva explained.

Balancing his archery aspirations with a thriving tea business in Colombo, De Silva participated in three World Archery Championships including the 2019 event in the Netherlands and the 2021 edition in the United States of America.

The World Archery Championships in Berlin offers four categories for recurve men, recurve women, compound men and compound women. Participants belong from the youth to seasoned veterans with some players over 50 years old competing for honours.

“For me, this is a crucial tournament as it forms part of my world ranking. I aim to participate in four championships this year, with the hope of securing a position within the top hundred archers worldwide,” De Silva said highlighting the significance of this competition.

Recurve is one of the recognized archery events at the Olympics and De Silva represents Sri Lanka in this category. As Sri Lanka has never fielded an archer in the history of Olympic participation, De Silva’s dedication and determination to perform well at the World Archery Championships could pave the way for future Olympic prospects according to analysts.

Despite the challenges, De Silva has been diligently training in Kotte due to the lack of dedicated archery facilities in Sri Lanka while the Colombo Archery School, Sagittarians Archery Club and Maitland Archery Club are the only three private entities with venues available for training in Colombo. There is also no dedicated place for practice for the national pool.

“With archery being a sport that varies with weather conditions and equipment issues, performing better than the competitors is crucial in knockout-based competitions like this,” De Silva revealed.

Looking ahead, De Silva has set his sights on the World Cup event in France and this year’s Asian Games in China, where he will be joined by fellow archers Anuradha Karunaratne and Wasantha Kumara.

Archery requires significant financial investment, with a single set of bows and arrows ranging from USD 1,000 to 4,000 while ensuring equipment readiness is essential as no allowances are made for equipment failures during competitions.

De Silva remains hopeful that his performance at the Berlin 2023 Hyundai World Archery Championships will garner recognition for the sport in Sri Lanka and inspire the development of a talent pool similar to that of cricket.

With dedication and determination De Silva aims to bring home a medal for Sri Lanka in the future.

“I have come close to achieving that milestone and I am determined to continue working hard to make it happen,” De Silva said while expressing optimism and enthusiasm for the sport he is so passionate about.