He is entirely a fantasy figure. He is a visionary, passionate, charming. Pleasant, courteous, kind, perceptive, soliderly, unassuming and honourable man. He is a person who possess an exceptionally great mental and creative ability, a genius, in whatever he does in his selective and chosen field. He is highly methodical. He was a fine sportsman, sports lover, and disciplined sports administrator.
He is Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando, RSP, USP, PSC (USA), Msc in Mgt, Msc in Sports Mgt, Cmgr (UK), CPS (USA), FCMI (UK) FIMgt (UK), FRAS, MISMM, MITD, Dip in CR, Dip in D&IR, Dip in CS, Dip in BM) a reputed Athlete, Eminent Sports Administrator and presently the Chef de Mission of the Sri Lanka Team for the 17th Edition of Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea which will be held form 19th September to October 4th 2014. Its a great honour to be the CDM of 181 Sri Lankan participants in the prestigious games.
Born on December 16, 1959, Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando, hails from a highly respectable family from Negombo. His parents were Mr and Mrs. Camillus and Freeda Fernando. Shemal, was educated at St Marys College, Negombo, and Royal College, Colombo. His late father, Camillus Fernando was one of the most renowned sportsman produced by St Mary's College, Negombo. He excelled in cricket, atheltics, soccer and volley ball, in 1930's.
Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando, is the “chip of the old-block” of his illustrious father's, sports “genes”. He is the eldest in a family of four. His second brother, Roshan Fernando was a brilliant sportsman produced by Royal College. Presently, he is the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) – Badulla. His other brother, Trevor is an Attorney at Law. The sister, Nelufar is a retired teacher.
At Royal, Shemal Fernando was a fine athlete and his pet event was 400 metres. He won college colours as well as Sri Lanka school athletics colours.
“It was really a “Dream of my father. He was very keen that I should join the Navy” stated Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando.
At the age 19 years, on 1st October 1979, Shemal Fernando joined Sri Lanka Navy as a Cadet Officer. At the age of 20 years, he was the recipient of awards – Best All Round Cadet in Academical, Logistics and Secretarial. He never looked back. By 39, he became the youngest captain and at 44, - Commodore. He was not second to anyone.
Then, at the age of 51, he became Rear Admiral and currently he is the longest serving military officer in Sri Lanka, with an unblemished career of 35 years. Along with his Naval Career, he never gave up sports. His first love was sports. He was interested in shooting competitions. After hanging his boots, he rendered yeomen services towards promotion of athletics as the Secretary General and Vice President of Athletics Association of Sri Lanka from 2001 to 2011.
He spearheaded the Defence Service Games and as the Chairman of Defence Services Athletics. He was instrumental in winning the first ever World Military Games Medal for SL in 2003.
Presently, he is the President of National Shooting Sports Federation of Sri Lanka and EXCO member NOC SL and a Lecturer National Olympic Academy, Sri Lanka. On International Circuit, he represented Sri Lanka many times and brought credit and honour to the country. This unassuming, god-fearing, naval officer is a man of honesty and integrity. He is presently preparing for his Phd and he will submit the thesis titled “Strategic Management in Sports”. He won an Olympic scholarship grant and obtained the prestigious Master of Science in Sports Management, jointly from the Lourian University, Belgium and International Olympic Committee in Switzerland in 2013.
This brilliant sports personality, as an outstanding Naval Officer also played a significant role in safeguarding the territorial integrity of the country from the terrorists.
He was awarded the Gallantary Awards – Ranasura Padakkama, Vishista Seva Vibhusana, and Uttama Seva Padakkama by the President. He created history, being the only officer in military history of the world to be selected by commanders of the Navy in their personal staff on 10 occasions.
They are blessed with four lovable children. Shanil – former Games Prefect at St Bridgets Convent, is today an Attorney at Law. She was also the College Athletic Captain. Shalini is reading for MBBS Degree at the moment. Shemal Jnr. Who was the Head Prefect at St Josephs College, Maradana, is at present reading for LLB Degree at the University of Kotalawela, Defence Academy. Shenali, the Deputy Head Girl of St Bridgets Convent is awaiting admission to an university.
He reminds a statement made by late President John F Kennedy of USA. He once said “you must not ask, what America is going to give you. Ask, what you are going to give back to your country America”.
Read Admiral Shemal Fernando is a gentleman – par-excellence. Whatever he learned and experienced, gained in the playing fields as a sportsman sports administrator he turned to a transfer of training and he passed it on to present generation for the promotion of sports in Sri Lanka.
This type of sportsman, sports administrator are a rare breed. Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando is a National Asset to this country.