The athletic De Silva brothers
By Radha Wimalawansa
Not always do we come across three siblings sharing the heart and passion for the exact same sports. Yet, guess what? We did come across these three De Silva brothers who share many similarities in terms of interests and areas of achievement. Shavitha De Silva, Shivanga De Silva and Shevinda De Silva are three brothers exceling in swimming and basketball. These three, as Shivanga says, “have been blessed to perform at both national and international levels.” Shavitha, the eldest of the three, is a 22 year-old pursuing his higher education in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering at SriLankan Technical Training. Shivanga, the second eldest of the three, is a 19 year-old residing in Canada, studying Actuarial Science at the University of Toronto. And the youngest of the trio, Shevinda, is a 16 year-old Josephian who just finished his O/L’s with flying colors.
Shavitha has been swimming for fifteen years. This Josephian coloursman has represented the school in both swimming and basketball during his days at St.Joseph’s. After schooling, he swam for the Sri Lankan Navy for two years. In 2017, he was soaring as a gold-medalist swimmer, winning three golds at the National Age Group Championship and one gold at the National LC Championship. In 2016, he won two bronze medals at the National SC Swimming Championship and a total of five medals at the Defense Services Swimming Championship. Being the eldest and the most experienced in the sport out of the three, he intends to continue swimming by joining the SriLankan Airlines swimming squad after completing his course at SriLankan Technical Training.
Shivanga, the next in line, attempts to strike a balance between both swimming and basketball. He too has represented St. Joseph’s in both swimming and basketball at national and international levels. Out of his many achievements, two events or rather two achievements are quite prominent. First, he was part of the U18 National Basketball team that defeated Japan in the 3x3 Asia Cup. This was a first in the history of Sri Lankan basketball. To sweeten up the overall achievement, Shivanga was named the Player of the Day by FIBA and patented the name ‘crossover artist.’ Second, he represented the country at the 5th Asian Schools Swimming Championship amidst an ankle injury that challenged him a great deal during his swimming trials. He recalls the manner in which he trained for his trials by walking up to the pool with his crutches, getting into the water with the help of another and then by swimming without using his right ankle.
Shevinda, the youngest and hence the most petted in the family, continues to represent the Josephian swimming squad. This 16 year-old has already taken part in several tours. His first tour is the 2016 South Asian Aquatic Championship, in which he won one gold that made him the only gold medalist in his age group, three silvers and three bronzes. In 2017, he took part in the Asian Age Groups Swimming Championship in Uzbekistan. In the same year, he won five golds and three silvers at the Chulaborn Aquatic Championship held in Bangkok, Thailand. His most recent tour is the 2018 Milo Pram Age group Swimming Championship held in Malaysia, in which he set his best foot and became the only bronze medalist in the U15 age group. Setting his bar higher year by year, Shevinda is yet to represent Sri Lanka at the 2019 World School Games in Brazil.
With so much to share, here’s a bit more of what the three brothers shared with ChoKoLAATe.
The three of you have got so many achievements on your lists, and I’m pretty sure there is more to follow in the near future. Having said that, how did all of this begin in the first place?
Shavitha: I had the wheeze when I was small. So, the doctor suggested that I should start swimming. Then, my dad spoke to our school coach and got me in. Shivanga pretty much followed my footsteps as the next sibling in line and joined after me. Shevi’s got a different story though. He drowned when he was about three or four years, and that’s when my parents decided to get him into swimming.
What’s the chemistry like between the three of you?
Shavitha: We have each other’s back all the time.
Shevinda: Yeah. Aiyya (referring to Shavitha) is always there even during my hardest times. He backs me up and points out my mistakes.
Shivanga: Whenever one of us takes part in a competition, all of us make it a point to go watch and support.
What are your future plans?
Shavitha: I am hoping to become an aircraft maintenance engineer. I’m almost done with my course. Just got a bit more to go.
Shivanga: I want to be an actuary! And also keep playing basketball for my country.
Shevinda: I’d like to be a pilot. I like to explore and travel.