In 2009 she took up to refereeing and in 2011 became the first Sri Lankan woman referee to officiate at an international event when she was invited to officiate the 2011 London Olympic test event where she was awarded a two star qualification just within six months of international refereeing.
Later she advanced as a three star referee and World Series Boxing (WSB)referee affiliated to the world boxing governing body, Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA). Nelka also has the honurr of being the first WSB women referee in South East Asia.She won the Best Referee in Asia award for 2017 becoming the first lady referee to win the prestigious award in Asian boxing history. Nelka was the first female referee to officiate a sport from Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in 2018.
She represented the Police boxing team in 2002 as the first woman Police boxing team member and also the first lady Police officer to represent Sri Lanka in boxing at international level.She is an old girl of Rippon Balika College Galle and joined the Police as a trainee Sub Inspector in 1997she started boxing for Police in 2001 and continued till 2006 winning the best losers award for five consecutive years
She passed the boxing referee exam held in Italy in 2013 to become highest rank of women’s three star boxing referee. Actually she is the first three star women’s referee in the South Asian region as well as South East Asian region.
Before this Olympics she has already become the first Sri Lankan women’s boxing referee to officiate the last Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in 2018 . She has already officiated in the Olympic pre trial boxing championships, South East Asian Boxing championships, and Asian Boxing championships and was awarded Asian best women’s boxing referee award in 2017 which is the first award by Asian boxing referee.
The late Boxing referee judge Herby Embuldeniya and his wife Neiva Embuldeniya who was the lady behind the success of Shiromala’s boxing career and both of them always encouraged Shiromala to reach this level as a highly qualified boxing referee.
Nelka Shiromala is on the brink of realizing the Olympic dream of her late father Thambu Sampath who passed away one month ago when she was officiating in the European Olympic boxing qualifying tournament in Paris.
Her late father Sampath was a well known boxing coach in Sri Lanka Navy and his only vision was to see Shiromala as a Olympic boxing referee.
When Shiromala got the Olympic selection letter her father was not alive to witness her Olympic dream. But today she is ready to officiate at the Olympics to fulfil her father’s wish.