The Filippi Spirit Award is World Rowing’s award for university student rowers who, through the core values of rowing, have inspired exceptional success in their lives in education, business, sport or charity. The prize is a Filippi eight boat for their university rowing club. 

Silva, studied engineering at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka. He rowed for the university club, was captain of the rowing crew, mentored other rowers and was a successful rower himself. Silva has now graduated from university and he travelled to Lucerne, Switzerland for the boat presentation.

Silva says winning the award came as a complete surprise. “Coming from Sri Lanka; not very known for rowing, it seemed unlikely. But this shows how rowing is fair to all, if you're doing it with the right intentions and to the best of your ability. I was thrilled when I received the news and so was everyone else,” says Silva. “The award was like the icing on the cake with my university rowing career and an amazing year for my club coming to a close.”

The Filippi Spirit Award began in 2013 and Silva’s win counts as the first time an Asian rower has won a major World Rowing award. “This brought much attention and glory to my club. UMRC is a small rowing crew with a passionate bunch of rowers who take pride in what they are doing and this award hasn't just been a personal award for me but an award for them too.”

Amidu Silva winning the 2018 Filippi Spirit Award © FISA

The Filippi eight now goes to Silva’s university club and despite his studies being finished, Silva still keeps in contact with the younger teammates. He offers assistance to them when required. Silva hopes the eight will be help to develop future rowers and facilitate their training for not just local events but international competitions as well. “And of course, my desire is to see it facilitate the whole of Sri Lankan rowing arena as well.”

And what is Silva doing now? “I passed with a first class in my degree and with valedictorian honours and I'm looking to pursue higher education in my field; engineering. Currently, I'm serving as a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering in University of Moratuwa. Rowing taught me well to manage my time, continuously improve on myself and perform in a team environment which were so useful in doing my academics well to get the results I desired and still applies today.”

Silva has some advice for future student rowers. “It’ll be a challenge in the beginning but the wealth of experiences you gain along the way is well worth it all. Just push yourself when it gets hard and keep believing in yourself. You'll be rewarded with the results soon in enough when you put in the work."

“Rowing offers an escape from the burdens of academic pressures while being an activity which utilises not just your physical capabilities but also mental and social attributes. The skills you'll gain by combining your studies and rowing will mould you into a better version of yourself and you'll surely make the time as a university student, the best years of your life.”