Royal College schoolboy KandulaYatawara has been picked by the International Olympic Council to represent Asia at the 3rd Young IOC Young Reporters Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Kandula is over the moon for it will be the first time he will be leaving on a jet plane.
“I’m so excited and can hardly wait. I have never left the shores of Sri Lanka and this will be the first time I will be travelling on an aeroplane,” said the 19-year-old student whose photographic skills earned him a place to represent the Asian continent at the Young Reporters Program during the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires from October 6-18.
“This is a huge honour for Sri Lanka. It is just fantastic that Kandula has been picked from a very competitive field to represent Asia,” said Maxwell De Silva, secretary general of the Sri Lanka National Olympic Council. “This experience will do him a world of good and we want him to continue to be involved with the Olympic movement in the future too.”
Kandula first picked up a camera three years ago when he was assigned the task of covering a football match between his school and Ananda College in Colombo.
“I wanted to do something different in school and I found that I quite liked taking action photographs,” revealed Kandula who is now a key member of his school’s media unit.
With financial help from his mother, InokaYatawara, Kandula purchased a computer which helped him further in his goal of learning the art of photography under the guidance of NilminiJayasekera, the teacher in charge of the media unit and supported by B.A. Abeyrathne, the principal of Royal College.
“I began taking sports pictures involving my school, everything from cricket and rugby to waterpolo and volleyball. I found myself enjoying it,” Kandula related.
With the backing of the school, Kandula was encouraged by the Sri Lanka NOC to apply for IOC Youth Reporter Program. His material impressed the panel of judges and he was selected to be Asia’s representative.
The IOCwill cover all costs including airfare, accommodation, meals with Kandula being tutored by seasoned Olympic journalists during the September 30-October 19 program. He will have tutorials in the first week before practical training starts with the commencement of the Youth Olympic Games on October 6.
Young reporters from all over the world will receive intensive class and field training in written, photographic, television, radio and new media reporting on the sport, as well as dedicated forums with guest speakers representing key international media organisations and senior Olympic figures.
Following the completion of the training in Buenos Aires, the top 15 Young Reporters as selected by their mentors will be invited to a second stage of training to be held at the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland from January 10-19, 2020.
The Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires will involve nearly 4,000 athletes from more than 200 countries in 32 sports. Sri Lanka will only be representedby an archer HewageThisara.
“I’m so happy. I just can’t wait for it to start,” said Kandula who hails from Bambalapitiya.