Virtue of versatility | Daily News

Virtue of versatility

Versatility is his virtue. Having excelled in many diverse fields in both the academic and aesthetic sectors Maleesha Yasasvin Perera recently bagged the Best Senior Nalandian (Visistathama Jesta Nalanda Puthra) 2016 award at the school’s annual prize giving held at the BMICH on October 24. This award is presented to the top performing Nalandian each year.

Maleesha had been studying at Athurugiriya Mahamathya Vidyalaya before joining Nalanda College through the grade five scholarship examination by scoring 175 marks. Three years into Nalanda College his talents shone through and won him the Best Junior Nalandian (Visistathama Kanista Nalanda Puthra) award 2010. He was the first Nalandian to win both awards after entering the school through the grade five scholarship examination.

“I had to face several interviews which focused on all my achievements when I was at Nalanda College. Though a lot of emphasis is on the academic activities, they give considerable marks for non academic activities too,” Maleesha said.

Apart from academics, athletics is Maleesha’s forte. He says that he has managed to get to the top of the ladder in most of his achievements because of his experiences as a school boy athlete.

“Nalanda College opened a wide range of opportunities for me to explore my talents. The main thing I learnt was to handle the pressure. I was passionate about cricket and wanted to join the team. However my parents did not encourage me to venture towards that sector. They allowed me to pursue athletics which I was equally passionate about,” Maleesha mused.

The track has taken him a long way. He has won 31 medals at national school level and has set a national record. One of the highlights of his school athletic days is clocking 0.06 seconds behind Shehan Ambepitiya’s record.

“I am not a good starter but I was able to take long strides and surpass other athletes due to my height. This is the reason why I began to prefer the 200m because I had ample time to catch up if I got delayed during my start,” says the youth who stands six feet two inches tall. This made him the tallest athlete in his age group at Nalanda as well as among other schools.

Recalling his first moment in the limelight on the track Maleesha notes it was the Under 12 Relay Carnival in 2008 in which the team got into the finals but failed to win a medal. His first all island individual victory was in 2011 in the Under 15 Sir John Tarbet Junior Championship in Kandy where he won a silver medal.

He notes that to excel in athletics a person needs to have good discipline.

“Hard work and dedication will take you a long way along the track. I spent most of my time either studying or on the track. I did not get much opportunities to hang out with my friends or to party. That is a sacrifice you need to pay to shine in both sectors,” Maleesha explained.

He considers his best achievement as being part of the relay team which won the gold medal for 4x100m at the second South Asian Junior Athletics Championship held in Ranchi, India in 2013. He was 16 then and the youngest in the team. Maleesha has been Nalanda College’s Deputy Games Captain in 2015 and the Games Captain in 2016. He has represented the Sri Lanka Junior National Athletic Pool for three years. He has trained under Tikiri Bandara, Sujith Prasanna, Sunil Gunawardena and Badra Gunawardena. The current athletic coach of Nalanda College, M Marasinghe, too has been a pillar of strength to Maleesha.

Receiving the Best Senior Nalandian 2016 from Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam award at  the annual prize giving held at BMICH

He says that there is no margin for error in athletics. If you make a mistake which takes even a fraction of a second, you might be out of the game.

If you get your strides wrong you might end up being injured which will cost you your place in the tournament or even your career.

Maleesha’s role model is Olympic champion Usain Bolt not only because he is a power sprinter but because the techniques he uses also suits Maleesha due to his height.

Having followed the commerce stream for his G C E Advance Level examination Maleesha was ranked 61 all island. This won him the Dayawansa Jayakody Challenge Trophy for the best results in the Commerce stream of Nalanda College as well as the L H Mettananda Memorial Trophy for the best results in the commerce and art streams of Nalanda College in 2016. He has put together a number of events such as the School’s Commerce Day for the school with his colleagues.

Maleesha’s father, Jayalath Perera, is the assistant director in the administration sector at the Sri Lanka Parliament. His mother, Lalitha Padmini, is a teacher at Rahula Balika Vidyalaya, Malambe. His sister is studying at Gothami Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo.

Maleesha started his first year at Sri Jayawardenapura University. He hopes to take up the B. Sc. Mgt. (Accounting) Special Degree. His ambition is to become a qualified professional in the corporate sector in Sri Lanka first before trying his luck as a professional in the global platform.

His message to youth is to believe in their potential and strengths.

“You might face hardships along the way but if you have a stimulant, it will raise your confidence. This is also the best time to recognize your strengths. Do not bow out of the game. Get back on your feet and move on till you get there.

You need to capitalize on your strengths when you reach the peak. More emphasis should be given to execution rather than planning. Rather than being one dimensional, try to excel in several sectors so that there will be many options open for you,” he said adding that his vision is to be an unstoppable prospect rather than an unbeatable prospect.

With Nalanda College Principal Thilak WaththuhewaReceiving trophies for the best result in the commerce stream and commerce and art streams (G.C.E. A/L 2016)Receiving the Col. Henry Steel Olcott Memorial trophy



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