Susanthika Jayasinghe

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Susanthika Jayasinghe
Osaka07 D7A Susanthika Jayasinghe medal.jpg
Medal record
Competitor for  Sri Lanka
Women's athletics
Olympic Games
Silver 2000 Sydney 200 m
World Championships
Silver 1997 Athens 200 m
Bronze 2007 Osaka 200 m
Asian Games
Gold 2002 Busan 100 m
Silver 2006 Doha 100 m
Silver 1994 Hiroshima 200 m
Bronze 2006 Doha 200 m
Asian Championships
Gold 2007 Amman 100 m
Gold 2007 Amman 200 m
Gold 2002 Colombo 100 m
Gold 2002 Colombo 200 m
Gold 1995 Jakarta 200 m
Gold 2000 Jakarta 4 x 100 m
Silver 1995 Jakarta 100 m
Continental Cup
Silver 2002 Madrid 100 m
Lusophony Games
Gold 2006 Macao 100 m
Gold 2006 Macao 200 m

Susanthika Jayasinghe (Sinhala: සුසන්තිකා ජයසිංහ; Tamil: சுசந்திகா ஜயசிங்ஹ) (born December 17, 1975) is a Sri Lankan sprint athlete specializing in the 100 and 200 metres.

Jayasinghe was born in Atnawala, Sri Lanka. Brought up in a poor family in a small village 60 kilometres north of Colombo, where running spikes cost more than the average month's wage, she had no access to proper sports equipment or coaches. Yet in spite of these underprivileged conditions she managed to progress to a standard where she could claim medals at both the Summer Olympics and IAAF World Championships in Athletics.

Jayasinghe is the first and only Asian to win an Olympic or world championship medal in any of 100 m, 200 m or 400 m sprint events.

Career[edit]

After her performance in the 200 m race at the 1997 World Championships she travelled to the United States of America to train. Along with Dhamyanthi Dharsha and Sugath Tillakaratne her athletics performances have lifted Sri Lanka to the international competitive level. In 2000 she became the nation's first Olympic medalist since 1948, when she finished behind Marion Jones and Pauline Davis-Thompson in the Women's 200 meters. On October 5, 2007 Marion Jones admitted to having been taking performance enhancing drugs prior to the 2000 Summer Olympics, and Jayasinghe was later awarded the silver medal.[1]

Jayasinghe was suspended from competition in April 1998 for failing a drug test that she claimed was rigged due to her political beliefs and a falling out with a Sports Ministry official. She was later cleared of the offense. After returning home with her Olympic medal she was attacked by a male athlete because, she believed, she had been supporting former government members in an election campaign. With no support from her national athletics association she had to go heavily into debt to even reach the 2000 Olympics but after her medal achievement there she was supported by a national fundraising drive in her homeland. In spite of that she left her home country to live in Los Angeles. She currently lives, however, in Sri Lanka. She told some of her story during a press conference for the women's 200 m medalists at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, when she was asked if her country would be proud of her. In a quiet voice, she said:

"I can't explain. You wouldn't understand. They give me, trouble, trouble, trouble. I give them bronze medal. It'll make them sad... It was trouble with me. Doping and sexual harassment."

She then went on to speak of officials coming to her house, giving her a drug test and refusing to seal the urine specimen with her watching. She refused to sign the release. Later they told her she had tested positive for nandrolone. By the time she was cleared, she was no longer welcome by her country's sporting establishment.[2]

She visited Los Angeles to train with Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam (Asian Games Gold Medalist in high jump in 1958, and two time Olympian in high jump - in 1952 and 1956). Shortly thereafter, she won gold medals in the 100 m and 200 m at the 2007 Asian Athletics Championships in Jordan and a bronze medal in the 200 m race at the 2007 IAAF World Championships. It was her first World Championship medal in 10 years. On 13 August 2007 she was ranked by the IAAF as 18th in the World for the 100 m sprint and 20th in the World for the 200 m sprint.

On February 5, 2009, Jayasinghe announced her retirement from sports [3] in order to focus on becoming a mother.[4] On March 31, 2009, she gave birth to a baby boy.[5]

In November 2010 she announced her plan to return to competition.[6][7]

Personal bests[edit]

Date Event Venue Time
September 9, 2000 100 m Yokohama, Japan 11.04 [8]
September 28, 2000 200 m Sydney, Australia 22.28

Achievements[edit]

Year Tournament Venue Result Event
1994 Asian Games Hiroshima, Japan 2nd 200 m
1995 Asian Championships Jakarta, Indonesia 2nd 100 m
1995 Asian Championships Jakarta, Indonesia 1st 200 m
1997 World Championships Athens, Greece 2nd 200 m
1999 IAAF Grand Prix Final Munich, Germany 8th 200 m
2000 Summer Olympics Sydney, Australia 2nd 200 m
2001 World Indoor Championships Lisboa, Portugal 4th 200 m
2002 IAAF World Cup Madrid, Spain 2nd 100 m
2002 Asian Championships Colombo, Sri Lanka 1st 100 m
2002 Asian Championships Colombo, Sri Lanka 1st 200 m
2002 Commonwealth Games Manchester, Great Britain 4th 100 m
2002 Asian Games Busan, South Korea 1st 100 m
2002 IAAF World Cup Madrid, Spain 4th 200 m
2002 Asian Championships Colombo, Sri Lanka 1st 200 m
2006 Asian Games Doha, Qatar 2nd 100 m
2006 Asian Games Doha, Qatar 3rd 200 m
2007 Asian Championships Amman, Jordan 1st 100 m
2007 Asian Championships Amman, Jordan 1st 200 m
2007 World Championships Osaka, Japan 3rd 200 m

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ ESPN, Dec. 9, 2009: "IOC reallocates Jones' medals"
  2. ^ Adrian Wojnarowski: A bit of foolishness to ease the tension, Friday, September 29, 2000
  3. ^ Sinhale Hot News: "Susanthika Jayasinghe announced her retirement"
  4. ^ Athletic Assn. of Sri Lanka: "Latest Sri Lankan Athletics News" “It has been a long felt dream which would finally become a reality this year. I want to get that great feeling of becoming a mother, devote some time for my child and then look at how I am going to give something back to athletics.”
  5. ^ LankanNewspapers.com: "News Image 41703 - Susanthika Jayasinghe gives birth to a son"
  6. ^ Gamini Gunaratna, Sri Lanka News Paper by LankaPage.com (LLC)- Latest Hot News from Sri Lanka. "Sri Lanka : Sri Lanka sprint queen to return to competition". Colombopage.com. Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  7. ^ "Lanka's Olympic medalist sprinter to return from retirement". The Times of India. 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  8. ^ Daily News: SPORTS STRIVING FOR GREATER HEIGHTS AFTER INDEPENDENCE, Thursday, 4 February 2010

External links[edit]

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Damayanthi Dharsha
Flagbearer for  Sri Lanka
Athens 2004
Beijing 2008
Succeeded by
Niluka Karunaratne