Cherantha de Silva, 20, is from Colombo, Sri Lanka. He started swimming with his brother at age four but began his professional career at age seven while the swimming scene was developing in Sri Lanka. Seeing his brothers improving encouraged him to swim harder and he gradually broke their records. After being recognised as the country’s top swimmer, Cherantha took his career to international heights, resulting in wins at the South Asian Games (SAG). He set national records in 50, 100 and 200-metre butterfly.
Cherantha trained in Sri Lanka and other countries such as the USA. The Sri Lankan government sent him all over the world to gain exposure for his home country. The FINA scholarship programme introduced Cherantha to Thailand in 2015 and was renewed again in 2017 when he was selected as Sri Lankan’s most deserving swimmer. The Sri Lankan curriculum operates on a point system, where the fastest swimmer is awarded the most points. The scholarship is awarded to the highest pointer. Cherantha draws attention and exposure to his homeland through the FINA Scholarship Programme.
Living a swimmer’s life has been a challenging but fulfilling journey. Cherantha adheres to strict diets, training schedules and recovery routines. He enjoys training at Thanyapura for its stunning facilities, healthy food and coaches Miguel Lopez and David Escolar Ballesteros. The property has everything he requires as a professional athlete. Cherantha is able to push himself to achieve his goals with the help of Miguel’s guidance, experience and knowledge in building Olympian and Paralympian medallists.
“Miguel’s like a second father to us. Here’s always there for us, for everything we need. It’s not just in the pool, anything about life – he’ll be there. Even if he has problems, he will stand up for it and talk with us. He’s always with us, no matter what the situation is,” Cheran said.
“Swimming is always very hard. I can see that if you want to swim, it’s a really painful life. Every part of your journey is painful. You can’t eat what you want to eat, you have to eat what you have to eat. We have to get in 8,000 calories a day,” Cheran said.
Cherantha’s primary target is to qualify for the 17th FINA World Championships Budapest in 2017 and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. No Sri Lankan swimmer has qualified for the Olympic Games yet – he aims to be the first. At the end of this year, Cherantha will move to the United States of America to study at a renowned university and train with a new team. His long-term goal is to become a business owner and entrepreneur, like his father. His father invented two cars and started a company. Cherantha will be part of his family’s new business while continuing to bring international glory to Sri Lanka.
In 2016, he competed in six competitions and received 4 silver and 3 bronze medals.
“The primary goal is getting to the Olympics in 2020. I want to be the first one to qualify in the Olympics. So far no one from my country has gotten the A qualification. The later part of my life, I want to be an entrepreneur just like my dad – be a businessman and run my own company. I would go for the best option there is. My father invented two cars – he built two cars from scratch in Sri Lanka – which is a big deal. He started his company. I’m very happy to be a part of it. I want to expose Sri Lanka to the whole world even more.”
Follow his Insatagram @cherantha