An Oar-some achievement: ‘A star’ in the classroom and on the water
An academic ace from Leeds, who recently celebrated achieving a ‘wave’ of 10 A*s in his GCSEs, is proving that his talents ‘flow’ further than just the classroom as he continues to excel in his passion for cox rowing.
Sixteen-year-old Harin Wijayathunga, from Meanwood, has been training with the Leeds Rowing Club ever since the London Olympics inspired him to pursue a career in the sport.
Balancing life on the river with his studies at the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), the ambitious all-rounder is not one to just sit back and relax in his spare time.
Explaining more about his busy schedule leading up the exams, Harin said: “I didn’t find it too hard to balance rowing with my studies.
“Admittedly, I was revising on the boat at times with my flashcards but it’s all about time management at the end of the day because we train a lot during the week after school.
“I generally manage my time well enough. This year, I had to really take a check on how much I was rowing because of my GCSEs.”
Despite only training as a cox for a relatively short period of time, Harin has already had trials for the British Under-18 rowing team and is the youngest cox at Leeds Rowing Club.
He was also one of the youngest coxswains to steer a team at the prestigious Henley Regatta two years ago when he was just 14-years-old.
This year he has not taken part in any of the big summer rowing events so that he could concentrate on his studies.
However, during the winter he participated in the four and eight head races on the River Thames where his Leeds club is the only one in Yorkshire to feature in the top 100.
“These competitions are dominated by the London clubs because they have the advantage of training on the Thames so they know the river like the back of their hands.
“It’s a great achievement for Leeds Rowing Club to have done so well in the head races.”
With a university degree at Cambridge in his sights, Harin says he has to ensure he continues to work hard in his A Levels to ensure he can achieve the sporting ambition of his dreams.
“The first race I watched was the Oxford and Cambridge boat race - that is what I want to do,” he added.
“I want to win that race. To get to that level is really hard. The work that I’m doing now with Leeds is going to put me in a good position to be trialling for those positions if I do get into Cambridge.
“It’s hard work now, but I’m more than happy to do it because it will be a big moment when that happens.”
With three A*s predicted in his summer 2018 exams, a race on the Thames may be right around the riverbend for Harin.