SLF Int, USA Outstanding Achievement By A Young Professional Hiruni Wijerathna for Her Excellence as the Fastest South Asian Marathoner and Champion in Long Distance Running

Hiruni Wijeratha, South Asia’s fastest female marathoner, a 29 year old, Sri Lankan-American Champion, a long distance running athlete who has kept the Lion Flag flying high victoriously before the world many times.

Born in Kirulapone, Sri Lanka, Hiruni attended St. Bridget’s Convent, where she began her journey as an athlete. Even though her athlete career blossomed in the U.S, her gleaming desire was to compete as a Sri Lankan athlete. In order to represent the Sri Lankan Sports Selection Committee, she ran her first Marathon in which she shattered the previous national records. Today, she is the South Asia’s Fastest Female Marathoner. She is also the first Sri Lankan to qualify for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athletic Championship.

Marathoner Hiruni Wijayaratne clocked 2 hours 43 minutes and 31 seconds in the Eugene Marathon when she crossed the finish line as first female and 11th overall in the 2017 edition of the Marathon. Doing so, Hiruni Achieved the qualification standards for the IAAF World Championship Marathon which is 2:45.00 .She was the first and only female athlete to qualify for the world championship in 2019 from Sri Lanka. Hiruni who lives in USA, moved thereafter spending first nine years of her life in Sri Lanka. She has been running Marathon for several years. Hiruni is now the fastest female marathoner in Sri Lanka as well as in South Asia. She holds these both records with the timing of 2:34:10.

Hiruni Wijayaratne, who currently takes credit for multiple National records in the long distance and marathon form of running, road and track, is a professional athlete residing in the USA. However, she fully represents Sri Lanka in all professional meets and in such an event, Wijayaratne has managed to achieve another milestone in her career.

Although there are no competition or tracked records kept on  Road Running competitions, the new timings recorded by Hiruni will renew her Personal Best Timings as well as challenge a track record that has stood for 16 years.

Hiruni is a fierce competitor. She holds 10 National Records for Sri Lanka, a marathon personal best of 2:36, and a passion for chasing her goals and helping others do the same. It doesn’t stop there, Hiruni brings her game to the office too, where she has taken over as the Business Development and Sales Lead, but she does so much more than that.

Hiruni is also one of the best world-class coaches, and enjoys answering questions and sharing her experience as both coach and athlete to inspire others to achieve their dreams.

SLF Int, USA 2022 Rising Star Award Winner Mathew Abeysinghe “Swimming Star” For his Excellence as the Greatest Swimmer and the most Accomplished Athlete

Matthew Duncan Abeysinghe, born 19 March 1996 is a competitive swimmer who has represented Sri Lanka at numerous international competitions. Abeysinghe trained under his coach and father, Manoj Abeysinghe, with Killer Whale Aquatics, until his departure for higher education, where he resumed his training at Ohio State University in the US. Abeysinghe is regarded as the greatest swimmer and one of the most accomplished athletes Sri Lanka has ever produced.

Abeysinghe started swimming when he was three years old alongside his older brother, Andrew. He has been quoted, saying he started swimming merely for water safety, not to compete. Over the course of his career, Abeysinghe has achieved numerous accolades, including; international medals, national records, national championships, and several national awards. Abeysinghe is considered the greatest athlete in South Asian Games history. He is also the most decorated; winning a total of 14 gold medals, two silver medals, and one bronze medal. In Freestyle, his most proficient stroke, Abeysinghe holds all of the national records except for the 200m Freestyle, which belongs to his younger brother, Kyle. He also holds the South Asian record in the 100m and 200m Freestyle events.

Abeysinghe’s first time representing Sri Lanka was at 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. There he broke the national record in the 400m Freestyle, previously held by Julian Bolling and became the youngest male swimmer to be selected to the national team. Later on that year, he competed at the 2010 FINA World Swimming Championships in Dubai. In 2011, Abeysinghe represented Sri Lanka three times; at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships, the 2011 Youth Commonwealth Games, in the Isle of Man, making it to the finals of the 400m Freestyle, and Asian Age Group Swimming Championships, where he won the silver medal in 100m Freestyle. In 2012 Abeysinghe competed at the 2012 FINA World Swimming Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. The next year, Abeysinghe competed at the 2013 Asian Youth Games, where he won the bronze medal in the 100m Freestyle, becoming the first Sri Lankan to win a medal at an Asian Games event.

In 2014, at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics, Abeysinghe competed in the 100m Freestyle. After setting a national record in prelims, he advanced to the semi-final, where he raced amongst the likes of future Olympians; Duncan Scott and Kyle Chalmers.

Later on, he represented Sri Lanka at the 2014 FINA World Swimming Championships in Doha, Qatar. He also competed in the 2014 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Seoul, Korea. In 2015, Abeysinghe competed at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Early on in 2016, Abeysinghe was struggling to reach the Olympic qualifying time in the 100m freestyle. Finally, in Hong Kong, Abeysinghe was able to achieve the “B” qualifying time, becoming the first and only Sri Lankan swimmer, and one of few athletes, to achieve this feat up to that point (his younger brother, Kyle, managed to surpass this mark later on). Abeysinghe competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, alongside fellow swimming star, Kimiko Raheem. He competed in the 100m Freestyle, with a time of 50.96, slower than he had previously swum in Hong Kong. He placed third in his heat.

In early 2017, Abeysinghe moved to the US to attend Ohio State University. There he resumed training, after a prolonged leg injury in late 2016. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Abeysinghe was a part of the 4×100 Freestyle relay for Sri Lanka. Alongside him was his younger brother Kyle, Akalanka Pieris and Cherantha De Silva. Together, they became the first Sri Lankan team to make finals at the Commonwealth Games. At the Games, he also competed in the 50m and 100m Freestyle, qualifying for the semi-final in the latter. There he competed against the likes of Cameron McEvoy, Chad Le Clos, and Benjamin Proud. He also became the first Sri Lankan to break the “50-second” barrier.

Matthew continued his glory at the South Asian platform winning 7 gold and silver in the 2019 South Asian Games held in Kathmandu Nepal.

SLF Int, USA Outstanding Performance By a Young Professional Award Winner Rukshan Henry De Silva for his excellence as a Principal Planner, Building Communities and the Environment.

Rukshan De Silva, The Waterloo alumnus, was named Australian Young Planner of the Year, recognising emerging leaders for outstanding contributions to their field. Among Rukshan’s many achievements, Planning Institute Australia lauded his commitment to innovation in the workplace, his collaboration with communities and government planners, and his volunteer contributions, including strategic land use planning in Peru and involvement with PIA’s National Settlement Strategy Team. 

Rukshan currently works as a principal planner at the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment, where he’s leading the design of Australia’s most extensive ski town.

Rukshan has always been a community man — volunteering his time to give back to his community in any way he can — something that’s continued since his elementary school days. Growing up, he was also very creative and interested in design. Put design and community together, and that’s the sweet spot, so designing communities for a living was the perfect fit for him.

The University of Waterloo’s co-op program was a standout and a strong influencer on his decision to choose Waterloo. Of course, it helped that his elder brother was also studying at Waterloo at the time, but co-op was why he decided on Waterloo too.

He had four co-op terms and cherished each of them very much – a mix of public sector and private sector, and one that he went on to work at full-time as soon as he finished his degree at Waterloo. That said, my first co-op was particularly special – he interned at a design firm called Hassell in Sydney, Australia, which was an exciting overseas experience for a second-year planning student. He wrote all my final exams early, allowing him to spend a month travelling across the country and four months of exciting urban design work. He loved Sydney so much that I decided to move back in 2017. It’s been two years (and counting…), and he loves each day even more than the last.

Rukshan was fortunate to have had the exciting opportunity of volunteering as an urban planner in rural Peru on two missions over the past two years with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities through their Sustainable and Inclusive Communities in Latin America program. The program aimed to empower and strengthen the capacity of four rural regions of Peru and Colombia that were influenced by mining activity. While mining had resulted in much foreign investment in these areas over time, economic benefits were unevenly distributed, and communities near the mines experienced a range of social, environmental and political consequences. His role was to provide peer-to-peer technical assistance to municipal politicians and planners in these communities to assist with capacity building, knowledge sharing and experiential learning. The experience was nothing short of rewarding for him and something he will always cherish. 

He doesn’t think there’s a single answer to this question, and that’s because every community is different — they have different values, needs, and aspirations for how they want to grow in the future. So, as planners, we need to understand what makes each community unique instead of applying a cookie-cutter approach — the local character of a community and the story of its past are absolutely part of its future.

That said, planning provides people with choices — choices for where they live, work, play and shop; options for what types of homes they live in; choices for how they move. And by providing these choices as urban planners, we’re really in a position to impact people’s lives positively. We want the communities we plan to be livable, accessible and socially inclusive places for everyone, regardless of age or ability. We also want our communities to be healthy, environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change and economic downturns. And we want our communities to be adaptable to a future that we’re not always able to predict. 

But with that growth comes a demand for planners. It’s our job to manage that growth — not only how much we grow, but how we grow. We must consider how growth is sustainably distributed across our communities and how that growth is supported by investment in infrastructure, public transport, affordable housing, parklands, social infrastructure, and the like. We must ensure that our communities remain livable as they grow. I know I’m biased, but it’s an exciting future ahead of us, and planners are leading the way into a new frontier.

SLF Int, USA Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional Amith Boteju for his excellence as a World Renowned Musician, Entrepreneur, Producer and Philanthropist.

Amith Boteju, you may know as “AmithWorldWide” from all of his social media, is a young, dedicated, and energetic Sri Lankan entrepreneur and a talented musician with a vision to take Sri Lanka to the global arena not only with his music but also with his business and innovative ideas. Raised in a middle-class Sri Lankan family, he has deep roots in Sri Lanka, which drives him towards his passion for making a global impact on his motherland for its betterment.

He is a world-renowned musician who performs with International music icons like Akon and Ne-Yo. Today he has his fashion line, “Born in Sri Lanka,” established in Los Angeles. In addition, this young individual has launched a project to solve the energy crisis in Sri Lanka by introducing renewable energy with Akon, who successfully completed a renewable energy project in Africa that lit over a million rural African households. He is a young man with a vision and a mission in his life, and he is unique because of his infinite passion for making them a reality.

As the Director of business development at Akoin, he is currently engaged in bringing young entrepreneurs and millennials across the globe to a common platform where they can operate with equal energy and frequency. Akoin is a cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem developed by the visionary change-maker Akon to empower emerging entrepreneurs in third-world countries. Amith works to fill out the voids of development in third-world countries by focusing on technology, clean energy, and agricultural trade. In addition, he is passionate about finding and emancipating energetic young individuals who have potential in these sectors from developing countries, especially Sri Lanka, and bringing them out to the limelight.

He is engaged with all the Hollywood music tycoons, like Akon, Ne-Yo, Jason Derulo, and Swizz Beatz, and his fans worldwide have dearly embraced his work. With all his hard-earned golden opportunities, he is willing to pave the way for Sri Lankan artists with the talent and passion for rap and hip-hop music. He dearly invites and encourages everybody who has an interest to join him in the music industry on all his social media platforms.

He has launched his fashion line, “Born in Sri Lanka”, with his talent in business and relationships built on his outgoing personality, this fashion line has become very popular and successful. This clothing line was initiated with the concept of reminding the expatriate Sri Lankans of their roots and being proud of their nationality. And also to bring the name of our country to stardom in fashion. Through this fashion line, he has allowed the nostalgic Sri Lankans to represent their motherland.

SLF Int, USA Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional Award Winner Talin Silva for her excellence as a Singer, Dancer, Model, and Actress.

Talin Silva was born in Burbank, California, on October 23, 2001. She lives in Los Angeles, California and is the daughter of Nalin and Gillian Silva. She has a younger sister named Kaylan Silva.

She has been performing for the Sri Lanka Foundation International since she was seven. Talin has walked the runway at New York Fashion Week for CHICK FASHION and modelled for many brands, including Claire’s, Sherri Hill PromGirl, Fashion Nova, juicy contour, Macy’s, and many others. Talin’s notable TV work includes 24, private practice, children’s Hospital, Jessica Darling It List on Netflix, Webheads on Nickelodeon, and Guest rolls on Disney. Also, Talin is a professional dancer who is represented by one of the country’s top agencies, Blocla. She has danced for the Oscars and Kids Choice awards and many A-list artists such as Justin Bieber, Mary J Blige, and many more.

Talin is actively working on releasing her new EP by the end of the year, and she has been in the studio crafting a new unique, fresh sound, which she is thrilled to share with everyone. With new music comes a new stepping stone. Talin is beyond excited to share with you that she is composing her very first Sinhalese song, and you won’t want to miss hearing about this one.

An upcoming project currently being produced behind the scenes is a Hulu docu-series of which Talin will be a part of, stay tuned for more! As an artist. Talin always strives to be the best role model for her fans and audience. She has been involved in charity work for St. Jude’s and the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. In addition, she has been one of the inaugural members of the Sri Lanka Youth Organization in Los Angeles. Talin always stands by and supports giving back to the community. She will always dedicate her time to bringing a smile to those in need with an open heart. What many may not know is that Talin is a big animal lover. She has four dogs herself, two of whom she rescued on her own. The ASPCA is an American society for the prevention of animal cruelty. Talin has been in a long-term partnership with this organization to rescue many pets and find homes for pet adoption. Furthermore, in her charity work, Talin flew out to New York to collaborate with PromGirl and the Garden of Dreams Foundation to provide less fortunate girls with a beautiful prom dress and their dream prom at Madison Square Garden before the pandemic.

Talin toured Europe, and she performed in 13 countries in a month which was an unforgettable experience. Talin’s heart was so whole, getting to perform and share her music with the world and her fans! When she returned, the tour life didn’t end there, she was back at it, putting in the work and covering 24 states in 2 months, and it was one of the moments in Talin’s music life that she would forever be grateful for have shared with her fans and supporters.

In her career, Talin has many life-long goals that she hopes to accomplish. However, one takeaway she encourages all of the younger generation and fans of her’s to live by is, to never be afraid to follow your dreams, romanticize the life you wish to have, and remember life is always full of new doors, allowing room for opportunity and growth, and Sky is the limit.

Live Love Dream!!!

SLYO USA | Operation Rise Above II 2021

On June 5th, the Sri Lankan Youth Organization and Project POH teamed up to hand out school backpacks filled with essential school supplies, toys, and duffle bags to the youth of the San Fernando Valley. The operation took place at Magaly’s Tamales and Mexican Grill and was a success yet again.

There were many generous donors involved that helped make this event a success. Kinecta Credit Union provided volunteers to help pack and hand out backpacks. They also distributed goodie bags and free ice cream to the community. Yasiel Puig’s Wild Horse Foundation gave out baby formula to underprivileged families, the Boys and Girls Club provided volunteers, and Team Rugby LA donated funds toward the event! A huge thank you to all the volunteers of SLYO, we couldn’t have done it without you all! Thank you!

This event, apart from providing resources, was about creating personal connections with community members. The age groups ranged from babies to 17-year-olds, and all were incredibly eager to receive toys and school supplies no matter the age! The happiness from the kids radiated onto the volunteers, making it a fun time all around.


“There’s nothing like seeing children and families having a fun time surrounded by people who truly believe in community partnership. We were honored to be invited by SLYO to participate in Operation Rise Above II and we look forward to bringing the event to our own community in Oxnard and Ventura County, and to partner with local businesses and organizations.” -Luis Guereca CDR

“It was truly an honor and privilege to attend SYLO’s invitation to participate in Operation Rise Above II. I was so impressed with all of the volunteers, community partners, and friends for taking time to come together for the benefit of children and families. The positive synergy at the event was amazing and I look forward to continuing our partnership with SYLO to bring this event to Ventura County and Oxnard on August 14, 2021!

Congratulations on a successful event which brought so much happiness to children and families!” – Jack Hinojosa CDR See Less June 7 at 2:24 PM

SUCCESS STORY!! Nirosh Mataraarachchi, First-Generation Sri Lankan-American, accepted to over 5 Top-Ranked U.S. Medical Schools, including full-ride Scholarships to the Nation’s Top Schools.

Nirosh Mataraarachchi was born and raised in Los Angeles, California to immigrant parents, Piyal and Janitha Mataraarachchi. Starting from his early childhood and beyond, Nirosh cultivated a passion for teaching, a desire to connect with others, and an understanding of social determinants of health.

As a future physician, Nirosh intends to connect with each patient to first understand who they are as people and what other factors in their life are contributing to their diagnoses. He hopes that by meeting the diverse needs of his patients, he can then empower them to make informed decisions.

Today, Nirosh has accomplished great feats and achievements. Nirosh graduated John Burroughs high school at the top of his class in 2016 and was granted several acceptances to universities throughout the U.S. Nirosh attended the University of California, (UC) San Diego, due to its highly ranked Biology program (#1 in Neurosciences at the time), the vast amount of research in both Basic Science and Translational work, the vast array of clinical opportunities available, a generous scholarship, and its proximity to family/home.

Nirosh was highly involved during his four years at UC San Diego. He was President of a Pre-Health organization on campus where he founded several initiatives to help educate underserved youth on health-risk behaviors as he led a committee of undergraduate students to collaborate and develop seminars. Furthermore, Nirosh was the Founding President of the inaugural Sri Lankan Students Association (SLSA) on his campus, and he helped co-found several SLSAs at sister UC campuses, in an effort to bolster community and belonging for other Sri Lankan students pursuing higher education. Following his passion for education and teaching, Nirosh was also a Teaching Assistant for three years, where he helped teach several upper-division Biology and Psychology courses at UC San Diego, like Metabolic Biochemistry, Human Physiology, Cell Biology, and Behavioral Neuroscience. Nirosh also continued playing American Football, as he did for all four years of high school, and cutting his roommates’ hair throughout college as a Barber. Outside of his extensive extracurricular involvements, Nirosh thoroughly enjoyed his time volunteering in several hospitals and working as both a Medical Scribe and Clinic Coordinator.

Remarkably, Nirosh demonstrated incredible academic excellence as he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neuroscience with a Minor in Psychology within an extraordinary three years in 2019, graduating Summa Cum Laude, the highest academic distinction placing him in the top 1% of his class. Nirosh received several honors and awards during his undergraduate, including the highly competitive Gabriele Wienhausen Biological Sciences Award, entrance into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and the Top Honor’s Research Presentation Award at the 2019 Biology Research Showcase. Within one year after graduating, Nirosh completed a Master of Science degree in Biology with emphases in Molecular and Biomedical Science at UC San Diego in 2020, where he continued his Senior Honors Thesis into his Master’s Thesis on Genetic Cardiac Disease. Upon entrance to his Master’s program, Nirosh was awarded the 2019 Diversity Fellowship due to the barriers he overcame in pursuit of his education and his efforts to improve educational access and quality of life for diverse groups at UC San Diego.

Nirosh’s most recent and commendable achievements have been his acceptances to the most prestigious and highly ranked medical schools in the US. To this date, entrance into U.S. medical schools remains the most difficult and competitive admissions process in the U.S. as many elite institutions have acceptance rates of less than 4%, accepting only the top applicants who demonstrate academic excellence, dedication to service, and a passion for medicine and other interests. Nirosh was accepted to 6 medical schools, 3 of which are of the U.S. News & World Report 2022 Top 10 Medical Schools. Within his acceptances, Nirosh was selected for the most prestigious merit-based Geffen Scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) David Geffen School of Medicine and the highest scholarship awarded at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, both of which fully cover the cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, and cost of living. For reference, UCLA received 11,778 applications, 175 students were selected to matriculate, and only 25% of the incoming class were selected for the prestigious Geffen Scholarship. Both UCLA and UCSF Schools of Medicine have acceptance rates close to 2%.

Nirosh is beyond honored, grateful, and ecstatic to have the opportunity to attend medical school and to treat his future patients holistically. Despite his own apparent aptitude and extraordinary work ethic, Nirosh attributes his successes to his overwhelmingly supportive family and mentors, as he states “I am nothing without the support and love of my parents, peers, and mentors. My parents, specifically, emphasized the importance of education, what it means to work hard, and how to show compassion and care to all. Their incredible sacrifices and teachings have helped shape who I am today.”

After much thought, Nirosh will be attending the UCSF School of Medicine, one of the most, if not the most highly ranked medical school in the nation. UCSF was ranked #2 in primary care, #4 in research, and was the only medical school ranked in the top 5 of all 8 specialty areas surveyed. Nirosh plans to practice in Internal Medicine first, before possibly specializing in Cardiology, Gastroenterology, or Oncology. Of significance, UCSF was ranked #1 for its Internal Medicine residency program, in front of Harvard University. To this date, UCSF has remained the #1 public university medical school in the US for over ten consecutive years due to its excellent clinical education, extraordinary faculty, and world-renowned research.

We share this news, today, in an effort to not only showcase and congratulate our fellow Lankan, Nirosh Mataraarachchi, on his incredible achievements but to also inspire and motivate other Sri Lankan students aspiring to attend medical school and practice medicine in the U.S. Please welcome us in congratulating Nirosh!

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.


Sri Lankan American New Chief Of Staff Rohini Kosoglu appointed for Kamala Harris!

Sen. Kamala Harris is making a key staffing change ahead of a holiday season in which she’ll be mulling a decision on a presidential run. On Monday, Harris announced Rohini Kosoglu as her new chief of staff. Kosoglu, who is Sri Lankan-American, enters the position as the only Asian-American woman currently serving as a U.S. senator’s chief of staff — and she tells Bustle that she’s optimistic about Congress becoming more diverse in 2019.

Kosoglu’s promotion from deputy chief of staff reflects a diversity among Harris’ staffers that isn’t matched by all her Democratic colleagues. And the numbers bear that out. According to a 2017 report released by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, most senators from the party employ women staffers, but an overwhelming number of staffers are white. At the time that report was released, Harris’ office employed the second-highest number of people of color, behind only Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz’s office. The newly minted chief of staff tells Bustle that it’s important for lawmakers and senior congressional staff to reflect the demographics of the country.

“I think it’s important that when we advance diversity [in Congress], we also advance the ability to address many issues in front of us,” Kosoglu says. “Our staff reflects California — the makeup of California, as well as the country.”

Beverly High Alumnus Runs for Los Angeles Community College District

Chatura De Silva, a Beverly High Class of 2008 graduate, is running for the Los Angeles Community College District.

De Silva said that if he is elected, he wants to focus on several issues including outreach to the youth and helping promote the completion of college.

“There’s a stigma that people have towards community college and its not as exciting as when [students] think of university. I want to try to see how I could really Chatura De Silva make that atmosphere more appealing to the youth and make them see it as an option,” De Silva said. “If you have the proper resources, you could really follow your dream.”

De Silva said his mother was killed by a drunk driver in 2010. He had been determined to finish his undergraduate degree at CSUN at the time, but was placed on academic probation. He took classes at Pierce College to get back on track, he said.

“[Community college] gave me the opportunity to get myself back up, so I owe a lot of my success to [it],” he said. His vision for the LACCD includes estabulating events where there is more interaction between teachers and students and make classes without stressing.”He is a project manager for the Sri Lankan Youth Organization, a non profit group dedicated to supporting Sri Lankan youth. He is also the founder and CEO of Project Pursuit of Happiness, a non profit charitable organization.

De Silva is running for Seat 3 on the LACCD, which is currently occupied by David Vela. The election will take place on November 3.

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Sri Lankan Pioneers

Sri Lanka Foundation wants to celebrate families!

We have very exciting news, introducing a new way to connect with Sri Lankans across America and we need your help to launch this project.

All of the information we receive will be compiled into a directory to be used to locate an individual, a family, or even your ancestors across the U.S.

To get started, we would appreciate it if you could take the time to fill this form out with your families. Scroll down to get started: