By Kusumanjalee ThilakarathnaSethuli Anusandi Weragama, an eight-year-old Musaeite, was recently placed first in both Kata and Kumite categories (8-10 age group) of the Asian Selection Tournament and First Dream Cup organised by the World Karate Organisation, India. She also emerged first at the 11th National Full Contact Karate Tournament organised by Sri Lanka Karate Do Federation on 30 October 2022. This karate champion is also a talented ballet dancer and follows traditional Kandyan dancing too. She also loves music and gymnastics. Sethuli dreams of becoming a scientist when she grows up. Sethuli, can you introduce yourself to us?I’m Sethuli Anusandi Weragama, studying at Musaeus College, Colombo 7. I’m eight years old and in the Grade 4J class. I have a fish pond at my home, and I love feeding the fish.In addition to karate, I like dancing and music. Also, I do gymnastics at my school. Most of all, I like to play songs on my organ and draw art during my leisure time.How long have you been practising karate?I started karate with Sensei Sujeewa Manjula Thennakoon in 2020. We do full-contact karate under the Shinkyokushinkai style.Which method do you practise – kata or kumite?I do both kata and kumite. Kata is about demonstrating skills. I practised all three katas of Taikyoku Sono well and did kick katas as well.Kumite is about real fighting, and our method is full-contact karate. In addition to practising in class, I attend beach training and other training sessions as well.Can you tell us about your experience at the karate tournament held recently in India?I was happy to participate in the Asian Selection Tournament and First Dream Cup organised by World Karate Organisation, India, held in September 2022, which was my first international experience. My age category was 8-10 years.Firstly, I attended the kata event and there was a considerable number of participants. I had to demonstrate two katas, where I had one choice and the other was from the judge. I won first place in that.With kumite, the finals were around 9.30 at night. My opponent’s height was well above mine, and she was older than me. The guidance given by my sensei made me confident, and my kicks were good, in addition to the punches. I got first place in this event too. How did you feel about your achievement at the event?I was so delighted about winning first place in both kata and kumite, and I think that continuous practice is the main reason for my success.The coaching and continuous support extended by Sensei Kasun and Sensei Sujeewa was the main reason behind this achievement.Have you participated in any other local/international karate tournaments? As many tournaments were postponed due to Covid-19-related health guidelines, I missed the opportunity to participate in tournaments. However, I participated in the 11th National Full Contact Karate Tournament organised by Sri Lanka Karate Do Federation on 30 October 2022, with nearly 1,000 participants. Only the Kumite category was played and I’m happy to say that I won first place.What karate belt do you currently have?My karate grading was done in 2021, and at present, I hold a blue belt.You do ballet and Kandyan dancing. Can you tell us more about your passion for dancing? I do ballet at the Russian School of Ballet and Dancing, Colombo 7. In September 2022, I completed the primary examination with a credit pass. Also, I follow Kandyan dancing at Channa Upuli Performing Arts Foundation.How do you find the difference between foreign and local dancing methods?Kandyan dancing is more traditional compared to ballet. However, I like both.Which one is your favourite and why?Ballet is my favourite because we wear beautiful dresses. Also, I like the form of expression in ballet.How old were you when you started playing the piano?I was six years old.Can you tell us how you manage your time between schoolwork and extracurricular activities?All of my practices of karate and dancing fall on Saturdays, and I do gymnastics after school only two days per week. Therefore, I have time after coming home, to do my homework and to practise. Also, I’m free on Sundays. What do you want to do when you grow up?I would like to become a scientist.Who are your supporters? Firstly I would like to thank my friend Geyli Onaya who shared her knowledge with me when it came to stretching and other basics and helped to improve my skills in dancing and gymnastics. Also, my friends Sesali Dihansa, Sethumi Siyansa, and Onara Juthindri support me in schoolwork.With karate, I would like to thank Country Representative of Shinkyokushinkai Sensei Ajith Liyanage, Branch Chief of Shinkyokushinkai Sensei Sujeewa Manjula Thennakoon, and Branch Chief of Shinkyokushinkai Sensei Kasun Jayawardhana who allowed me to participate in the Asian Selection Tournament and First Dream Cup tournament in India. Their support and guidance helped me to achieve first place in both events.Also, I would like to thank my principal, deputy principal of the primary section, and my class teacher for their support, which has been a blessing for me.Last but not least, I would like to thank my parents for their support.