Sahan Thejana Peiris – Another phenomenal student at ICBS
23-year-old Sahan is another wonderous undergraduate at Imperial College of Business Studies. He is a determined, persevering, and committed go-getter with a passion for Diving. Sahan is also a very accountable young student with a huge leap of faith. The former Royalist is a very balanced person with his academics and sports. He is also the only Royalist to win Double crowns for 2 sports in a single year so far. Sahan has represented Sri Lanka on various occasions, and most importantly at the Commonwealth Games. The ambitious soul full of energy only believes in hard work and sweat. He is currently following the final stage of a Degree in International Business and Finance at the ICBS.
So Sahan, tell us about how you got into diving and what made you choose the sport?
Even though I only continued diving, I started sports with gymnastics. Since my sister was doing athletics, my parents had a tough time as they had to take me to the ground as well. Since there were gymnastic practices at the same time as well, my parents decided to enroll me in that while my sister had practices. That’s how I started sports just at the age of 4. Then one day I saw a diving display done by the diving team of Royal College at the Inter-house Aquatic Meet. It made me fall in love with the sport just as I saw it, and I immediately started diving at the age of 8 which means grade 3. And gymnastics and diving complemented each other a lot with all the acrobatic styles. It helped each other and that made me continue both sports to the best of my ability.
What do you like the most about diving?
I must say it is the adrenaline rush. It is somewhat of a death race. If you lose your balance, anything can happen. And for some reason that makes me excited. Diving taught me that you should take responsibility for what you’re doing. It is a sport that should be played with a calm mind and a lot of concentration. It requires risk. It keeps me going.
What are your biggest achievements?
By far the biggest achievement I received is gaining the opportunity to represent Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Games. Also, I am the only Royalist to win Double Crowns for 2 sports, gymnastics and diving, in a single year. Other than that, I have captained the Royal College Diving team twice, 2011 and 2012 where we won the overall All-Island Championship and National Championship in both years. Other than that, I have also captained the Sri Lankan diving team and the Sri Lankan gymnastics under 19 teams in several years. I was also the Senior Deputy Head Prefect of Royal college in the year 2017. It makes me very proud to remind myself of all these goals I have achieved and that there are many more to come.
How did Royal College, your Alma Mater, support you throughout the journey?
Royal College of course played a huge role in my upbringing. I owe my school in every way as it made me complete and ready to face life without fears. As it says in our College Song and I quote, “we will learn of books and men, and learn to play the game”, the school always encouraged us for a balanced life. It taught us to accept diverse cultures and differences. We met so many people from different walks of life but inside Royal, we were all equal. We were showered with opportunities to polish ourselves and to prepare for real life in the future. Royal made me very confident and fearless so where ever we go, we are very proud to utter the words, “I am a Royalist.”
How did it feel to be the only Royalist to win Double Crowns in a single year?
To be honest, it is something that I never saw coming. I didn’t expect it at all. When the announcer announced my name for a second crown, I honestly couldn’t even believe it and I thought he was mistaken. It was the colors night in 2014 and words cannot express how happy I felt and it for sure is the most memorable night of my life and I am forever grateful for it.
What was the experience like to be the SDHP of Royal College?
Well, it is one of the biggest responsibilities that I have had on my shoulders. Senior Prefectship at Royal is happening after the advanced level examination, for around 12-14 months. I held the position in the years 2016/17. After serving a probationary period, they announce the names of the Top Board the day before the big match at the AGM and the silver badge is awarded. It of course is one of the proudest moments for a Royalist and a great opportunity to serve our school. We took part in different CSR projects to up bring the learning-teaching process and the installation of Solar Systems happened in our time.
What is the degree that you are studying at Imperial college of business studies?
I’m studying for the BA(Hons.) International Business and Finance.
Does imperial support you for diving?
Even though Imperial doesn’t conduct diving as a sport in the university yet, they always have my back through anything. They are kind enough to contact me before competitions and if there are any requirements, they always take care of them right away. There were even times where I had to postpone my examinations due to competitions, but they were very flexible and supportive. They help me progress and always ask me about achievements. They do everything possible from the side of the university and they always push their students forward by sharpening their talents and offering them opportunities, whichever way possible. I am very thankful for my university.
What made you choose imperial as your higher education provider and tell us a little about life at Imperial.
Well, since grade 10-11, I was very much interested in Finance and applying finance to the real world. I came across CIMA, ACCA which are professional, but didn’t come across many universities for an academic qualification. Since I spent around 14 months in school due to Prefectship, I waited to select a degree that gives a higher value in terms of both academic and professional. Then I found ICBS where they offered a degree plus exceptions for ACCA and CIMA and a total of 11 qualifications. I selected this as it was the perfect solution to fast-track my career. Talking about life at imperial, I must say it is very exciting. The background and the learning environment are of the latest technologies and are very effective. They are very good at managing students and they always organize various events and get students to be part of them and this improves a lot of people management. Their Kandy Branch and the Colombo Branch often get together and we can make new friends of diverse cultures and backgrounds. The degree itself isn’t quite easy and it requires a lot of effort and determination but it consists of practical aspects as well as theory making it very engaging. While in college, they allow us to become more professional, by letting us connect with real scenarios. The lecturers are very friendly and qualified and they make our lives so much easier. You can always put out your ideas and that’s the best part of being a student at ICBS. You’re always pushed forward.
Would you recommend ICBS for a younger sister or a brother?
Definitely. If you are looking for a finance or operational related qualification, this degree is ideal for you. If you take a look at the curriculum, it's not just about numbers, it gives you knowledge about how data work, how information systems work, statistics, taxation, marketing, and complex idea about the overall operation of a firm including how to handle business during hard times, how to handle competition, etc. I would recommend a person interested in this area to start this degree as they will be able to grow an in-depth understanding of those areas.
What are your plans for the future of diving in Sri Lanka?
On a long-term aspect, I would like to bring up Divers in Sri Lanka to be able to represent SL at the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and so on. We are creating a plan with my coaches to create good solid juniors to perform at the international level and to establish that mindset in Sri Lanka. To give back to the sport for everything it gave me.
What do you live by Sahan? What is your slogan in life?
“Don’t believe in luck, I believe in sweat.” If you work hard you can beat the odds. Waiting for luck is a waste of time. Thereby I always try to put in my maximum for whatever I do. The harder you try the more you will succeed. My life events made me understand that it is hard work, not luck. Therefore, hustle hard!
Whom are you thankful for?
I am very grateful for my family as they have played a huge role and stayed by my side throughout everything. I must also thank Royal College, Principals, my teachers, and Senior Games Masters for all the support. I must mention my coach Mr. Chanaka Wickramasinghe as he always held my hand through this journey which was never easy. We came across so many challenges but together with his guidence, we were able to overcome such adversities. I would also like to thank my former coach Mr. Esiri Kankanige for his support as well. I am also very thankful for my university, ICBS, for all the support rendered to help me balance academics and diving.
Any word of advice for our readers?
One must always believe in them first. No one in this world knows you better than yourself. Others will have opinions, but you should always trust and understand your worth and capabilities. People need to concentrate on targeting the long-term aspect of life as they always underestimate what they can do in the long term, while they concentrate on what they might lose in the short term. Therefore, you should always plan and look into the future. Trust yourself and your gut. You’re stronger than you think!
Writtin By – Upuli Jayasundara