Heshan Unamboowe was Sri Lanka’s number one swimmer for many years
He is an Olympian and represented Sri Lanka at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. He was born on May 19, 1992 in Kandy and was educated at Dharmaraja College and at Trinity College.
His first coach was E. G. A. Wilson and thereafter he came under the guidance of Piyasiri, U. H. Pemlath and U. H. Sugath with J. B. Herath as the physical fitness instructor. His first national level achievement was in 1999 when he won a Silver Medal in the 50m backstroke at the Sri Lanka Schools Swimming Championships, competing in the Under-9 age group category.
His first achievement in Open National level was in 2004 when he won a Bronze Medal in the 200m butterfly event at the National Aquatic Championships.
Thereafter, he excelled in all Inter-Schools and National Championships and was placed 42nd in the 100m backstroke event at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
He later joined the Ohio State Miami University and continued to represent the university with great success.
Unamboowe also represented the country at the Asian Games in 2006 and 2010 and the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
He came into the limelight by winning three medals at the 2005 Asian Age Group Swimming Championships held in Bangkok, Thailand. He clinched the Gold Medal in the 50m backstroke with a record timing and
followed up by securing a Silver Medal in the 200m backstroke and a Bronze Medal in the 100m backstroke.
He won the Silver Medal in the 100m backstroke at the 2007 Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia and produced a repeat performance at the 2009 Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
Unamboowe had another successful outing at the 2006 South Asian Games held in Colombo and won one Silver Medal and four Bronze Medals with an outstanding performance. He was part of the Sri Lanka 4X100m Team that came second in the freestyle relay event and followed up by securing Bronze Medals in the 50m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 4x100m medley relay and 4x200m freestyle relay.
Unamboowe performed even better at the 2010 Asian Games in Dhaka, Bangladesh where he set a new meet record in the Men’s 100m backstroke event.
He then went on to underline his growing reputation as a top international swimmer by winning Silver Medals in the 50m backstroke and 200m individual medley before joining the 4x100m medley relay team to win the Bronze Medal.
The 2010 South Asian Swimming Championships in Islamabad, Pakistan turned out to be a memorable meet for Unamboowe who stamped his class by winning two Gold Medals, four Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal.
He bagged Gold Medals in the Men’s 50m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke events. Thereafter, he secured third place in the 200m backstroke, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay and won the Bronze Medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Unamboowe also represented the country at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and participated at the FINA World Championships in 2007 (Melbourne, Australia), 2008 (Manchester, England), 2009 (Rome, Italy), 2011 (Shanghai, China) and 2013 (Barcelona, Spain). (C.D)