SPOTLIGHT - Award
SM.K.A Anoma Rathnayaka awarded “Most outstanding Sports Academic of the Year 2015” Hon. Dayasiri Jayasekara, Minister of Sports, Sri Lanka.
M.K.A Anoma Rathnayaka is the 1st batch student of Dream Together Master program.
She wrote on thesis about 『Sport Development Process in Sri Lanka』
After the graduation of DTM, she serves currently as vice president of National Basketball Federation, also belongs to the executive special projects of National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka.
Following is the interview with M.K.A Anoma Rathnayaka
Q1. Please introduce yourself.
I am M.K.A.Anoma Rathnayaka from Sri Lanka. I attended the Dream Together Master program in 2013 as part of the first batch of students. After completing the program, I became the second Sri Lankan to obtain a Master’s degree in sport management in Sri Lanka.
[Anoma Rathnyaka expressed her genuine gratitude in the thank-you letter to Dream Together Master Program]
After returning to Sri Lanka after completing the DTM program in Korea, I had the opportunity to be involved with many major educational, administration and sport development programs and worked with many sport organizations in the country such as the National Olympic Committee, National Basketball Federation as well as the Ministry of Education, media and universities in Sri Lanka. I was directly involved with an executive special project for the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka and took up the post of vice president of the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation.
I have also started a number of academic projects such as writing academic sports management books in Singhalese. Once it done, it will be translate into several languages – Tamil, Korean and Japanese. Sri Lanka still does not have any sport management books in Singhalese. So I would like to fill that gap in order educate people who are involved in the sports sector in Sri Lanka. Education is necessary in order for those working in sport to be productive. I am also preparing to further my studies in sport management research and become the first Ph.D holder in the field of sport management in Sri Lanka. I have also started to volunteer to conduct research consultations with university students who are majoring in a sports degree in Sri Lanka.
Q2. Please let us know your life in Sri Lanka, compared to that in Korea.
[A post in Sri Lanka showing the laureates of The Most Outstanding Sports Academic of the Year. Anoma Rathnyaka is presented to the right]
When I first came to Korea, what instantly took me by surprise was how amiable and hospitable Koreans were. When I was in Korea, I felt myself growing more productive day by day. I enjoyed the busy academic schedule at SNU. It made me so energetic. In Sri Lanka, I always felt demotivated because Sri Lanka lacks a proper sport system and qualified people who can develop sport within the country. So I was blessed to be part of DTM as I was taught how to invest in myself.
Engagement with international students and sharing experiences with them supported me to discover another part of myself. The student experience was balanced, encompassing academic, social, and welfare activities. The program was designed by putting together much information, guidance, support and practical advice within the taught areas. It pushed us to excel our abilities as academic professionals and practitioners. I realized that if I kept moving in this direction, I would eventually reach my goal and feel the happiness of achieving my dream. The DTM program gave me the opportunity to build good relationships with people from different countries and cultures and immerse myself into Korean culture.
Before coming to Korea, I knew that recent industrialization and urbanization had changed the life of South Koreans to a great extent. I am happy to have witnessed this here in Seoul. Their lifestyles are no more traditional, though they keep traditional values. Korea is open to experience Western and Asian cultures. I am fascinated with the Korean culture indeed; from their beliefs to cuisine. I was especially impressed by how Korean people always try to focus on the future rather than the past. During my short stay in Korea, I have been able to observe their attitudes and how they affect personal progress and the entire society. Attitude is the way we view the world around us, our environment and the future. I learned from Koreans that when expectations are high, nothing is impossible. I observed how the preservation of nature, respect for others, good time management, a strong education system, healthy lifestyles, and a clean and beautiful environment were shaping the society to move forward. During my stay I noted that the Korean people always tried to share their happiness with one another, which I found to be commonality of Asian nations.
After the DTM program came to an end, I brought with me many hopes to serve my country. But day by day, I realize that Sri Lanka is not looking for people like us. Very few people are concerned about qualifications and experience. Most of the people in the field of sport do not welcome people like us because they are not passionate about sport and its development. Positions are based on favoritism and power. People out of the system do not have power. It will take many more years to change this. However, I will continue to do whatever I can by using my knowledge and experience from DTM and Korea. I have been able to observe that Korea always tries to generate and sustain proper systems. But, in Sri Lanka, our sport system is still far behind.
Q3. We are very proud of your achievement. Please explain to us the story of the honorable award (the Most Outstanding Sports Academic of the Year)
The presidential sports awards ceremony was to present awards to those who made contributions for the development of sports in various categories including the best trainer of the year, best sports administrator of the year, best sports academic of the year, etc. This award was created for the first time in Sri Lankan sports history and is an encouraging step for the future development of sports in the country. The award was to be given to the Sri Lankan who had made the most substantive contribution to Sri Lankan sports in the year 2015.
Mr. Hemasiri Fernando, the president of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka, nominated me for the award. After the first selection process, I got a call from the Ministry of Sport that I had been selected as one of the final three nominees. I then submitted my all related documents.
The final results were revealed at the awards ceremony. I was so sure that I was the most suitable candidate who should receive first place, as the award only considered contributions made in 2015. However, first place went to another person and I received the runner-up award. After the awards ceremony many people came up to me and said, “Anoma, we are so sad about the results. You were the most qualified for first place. But, what can we do? Please don’t give up.”
Q4. Please give your advice for the current DTM
Most people I know have a dream. In fact, some willingly describe it with great detail and enthusiasm while many are reluctant to talk about it. When I arrived in Korea, I felt that I was on the right track to pursue my future goals. Attending Seoul National University’s Dream Together Master program was an opportunity to prove myself. This opportunity was provided to me as a reward for my extensive commitment in the field of sport management, sport administration and sport development in Sri Lanka.
I recommend current DTM students to not only do their best in their studies, but also participate in many extra-curricular activities and build friendships to enrich their overall experience. Try and enjoy Korea and SNU as much as possible.
SNU is a wonderful place to prepare yourself to become a future leader in the world. During your short stay at SNU, I recommend for you to try to learn as much as possible in terms of knowledge, friendship, values, winning and losing, respect for one another as well as appreciate the wonderful notions of DTM and South Korea to invest in people like us. Also, make sure to appreciate how the DTM program brings world class professors from around the world to teach you.
After the program, show your appreciation for the program by giving back through your support and being good leaders in the field of sport. This is how we can respect DTM and South Korea for the precious experience they have offered us.
As DTM has invested in you, try to invest yourself using the spirit of DTM to become future leaders in sport around the world. Do your best and promote yourself as a DTM family member. Trust yourself and make yourself proud.
Even though you may still be master’s student in Seoul at this moment, I believe that you will pursue your dreams together with the Dream Together Master program
[Dayasiri Jayasekara, Minister of Sports in Sri Lanka is handing over the Presidential Sports Award to Anoma Rathnyaka]