Sandali says make education No. 1

By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna

Little Stars organised an art and poetry competition celebrating World Oceans Day. Among the many drawings received, a drawing sent in by 13-year-old Sandali Amasha won the first place in which she captured the essence of ocean conservation well, depicting how human actions contribute to ocean pollution. Sandali Amasha is a student of St. Nicholas International College and resides in Koswatta, Naththandiya with her parents and two brothers. She is not only a talented artist but also a skillful karate player. Sandali emerged first in the Under-13 female Kumite event at the 2018 Sri Lanka National Karate Championship.

In a conversation with Little Stars, Sandali shared how she manages her time for extra activities giving priority to her education.


Sandali, can you tell us more about yourself?

My name is Sandali Amasha and I turned 13 this October. There are five members in my family and I have two elder brothers. I live in Koswatta and I study at St. Nicholas International College. Other than drawing my interests are playing karate and swimming. I recently started my training in athletics. My favourite athletic event is the long jump. I have won many medals in karate as well as for swimming. The most prestigious medal I ever won was the national karate medal I received in 2018. I was awarded the Most Progressing Sportswoman Award at the school’s annual prize giving in 2019.


What made you participate in the Little Stars art competition?

My art teacher Sanduni Welgama informed me about the art competition. When I got to know about the topic, I too was interested. I referred to many posters and drawings that were available on the internet to study how a poster should be done on the topic of ocean conservation. It took me more than two days to come up with an idea and put it onto paper. I was very happy with the outcome.


How did you feel when you got to know that you have won?

One of my aunts in our art group saw the announcement on Facebook. She was very happy and she called us immediately after. My teacher Sanduni too was very happy that I was selected as a winner. She told me that my drawing was selected from a large number of entries. When I heard that I too felt very happy and proud. I was encouraged to paint more and more.


Since when do you draw?

Since I started school. I didn’t know I was a good artist until my teacher complimented my work. Then I too got interested in improving my skills in art.


What is your favourite method of painting?

I love to use fabric paint. My favourite thing to do is shading. Now I follow art lessons privately too. But it’s under the same teacher who recognised my talent.


You told us your father is also a good karate player. Is this why you grew an interest in karate too?

Yes. My father is my sensei too. I started practising karate when I was just six years old. My two brothers were already practising karate when I joined. I loved to watch them practice. Now I am at the brown belt-level and hoping to achieve the black belt soon. My two brothers already hold black belts.

When I was younger, my family went to Germany and there I received an opportunity to participate in a German karate training session. My photo was featured in German newspapers too.


Can you tell us about your experience, having your father as your sensei?

He is quite tough at times. But he trains us very well. He aims to train us well enough to compete with international-level players. I too have that dream to one day bring an Olympic medal in karate to my home country. That will make my father very happy and proud.

I have two other coaches – Sandaruwan sensei and my school karate coach. Sandaruwan sensei too helps me a lot to improve my skills.


Do you have any other hobbies?

Well, swimming is one of my hobbies. But I am unable to go for practices due to the pandemic. I really miss going to swimming practices.


You engage in a lot of extra activities. How do you manage your time so that you have enough time to do school work?

My father always says that our first priority should be school work. I too agree with him. Any given day No. 1  priority is given to completing school work. My No. 2 interest is in karate. We do regular practices. All my other interests fall after karate and school work.


What is your ambition?

I want to become a lawyer in the future. That’s why I have decided to continue my school education in the arts stream. It is my father’s dream to see me practising as a lawyer when I grow up. I like the profession too. I like to be fluent in speech like the lawyers. I am working hard to make his dream come true.


Who are your supporters?

My entire family. My father is my karate guru. My mother helps me with my education. My two brothers help me when it comes to sports activities.

I also need to thank my art teacher Sanduni Welgama for guiding me to improve my skills. I must thank my school karate master for helping me master my karate skills.


Do you have any messages for our readers?

Always make your studies your No. 1. Without a good education, it is hard to become successful in any field that you are going to follow. But make sure you spend adequate time doing physical activities too. Sports and physical activities help us to stay healthy. Then, have other hobbies and spend time for entertainment. You need to learn how to manage your time to do all this if you want to have a balanced and successful life.