“I believe everyone has an athlete in them” seems to be Gihan Hemachandra’s anthem. Despite being a fully-fledged corporate investor, he recently conquered the arduous ‘IRONMAN 70.3 Vietnam’ Triathlon, the motto of which is, “Anything is Possible”.
With a wealth of experience in corporate investments, dealing and treasury operations, Gihan Hemachandra is one of Sri Lanka’s leading financial professionals. His qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with an Honours in Finance from the University of Colombo. He is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants UK.
In his free time Hemachandra’s interests range from long distance cycling to golf. He is a health and fitness enthusiast and recently participated in the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative for the second consecutive year, where he cycled the entire perimeter of Sri Lanka to raise funds for children suffering from cerebral palsy. His latest achievement in the fitness arena, however, is his participation in the IRONMAN Triathlon in Vietnam, on 10 May, 2015.
The IRONMAN 70.3, also known as the half-IRONMAN distance Triathlon, is among the world’s most exciting races, attracting hundreds of thousands sport enthusiasts, athletes and supporters. This year, the race hosted 941 participants, representing 54 countries from around the globe, of which Hemachandra was ranked 397.
The race featured a scenic course that included a 1.9km swim in front of the spectacular host hotel – Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa, a two-loop 90km bike ride with a course that took participants along Danang’s pristine coastline and by some of the city’s key landmarks, and a 21km out-and-back flat run passing many of Danang’s famous beach resorts before finishing at the foot of the legendary Marble Mountains.
It is notable that Hemachandra was the sole Sri Lankan representative, among approximately 1000 competitors. His message in participating in this near impossible endurance challenge could not be any clearer; he stands as a testament to the fact that fitness can be achieved by anyone, and that there’s a competitor within everyone.
Participating in this Triathlon had been a long 20 year dream of his, though Hemachandra was a good athlete in school, and even continued to cycle thereafter, his intensity ebbed away with the ever growing demands of the corporate world. He awakened his inner athlete once again with his participation in the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative, and his involvement with the WrooM cycling group, which led to him taking part in the Colombo Marathon in 2014. Thereafter, he decided to participate in IRONMAN 70.3.
Hemachandra began training according to a strict schedule which required rigorous training 12 times a week, over the course of three months. The training sessions were mostly twice a day, from 4.30 a.m. – 7.30 a.m. and 6 p.m. – 8.30 p.m. With such determination and training, he not only realized his dream of taking part in the prestigious Triathlon, but he also inspired many others to dream for gold as well.
Hemachandra has also always encouraged corporate professionals and youngsters to live healthy and active lives, and believes that endurance sports play a crucial role in developing successful and well-rounded individuals. As part of his efforts to give back to the athletic community, Hemachandra is also preparing to launch a charity organization, which will help athletes with high potential, to represent Sri Lanka in the international sports arena.