Susanthika Jayasinghe

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Susanthika Jayasinghe
Susanthika Jayasinghe
Jayasinghe at the 2007 World Championships
Personal information
Native name සුසන්තිකා ජයසිංහ
Nickname(s) Asian Black Mare
Nationality Sri Lankan
Ethnicity Buddhist
Born (1975-12-17) December 17, 1975 (age 41)
Uduwaka, Sri Lanka
Occupation Sprinter
Years active 1994-2004
Sport
Country Sri Lanka
Sport Track and field
Event(s) Sprint
International level 1994
Retired 5 February 2009
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals 2000 Sydney
Personal best(s) 100 m: 11.04[1] September 9, 2000 (Yokohama, Japan)
200 m: 22.28 September 28, 2000 (Sydney, Australia)
Updated on 12 October 2015.

Susanthika Jayasinghe (Sinhalese: සුසන්තිකා ජයසිංහ; Tamil: சுசந்திகா ஜயசிங்ஹ) (born December 17, 1975) is a Sri Lankan sprint athlete specializing in the 100 and 200 metres. She won the Olympic silver medal for the 200m event in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, the second Sri Lankan to win an Olympic medal and the first and only Asian to win an Olympic or world championship medal in a sprint event. She also won two gold medals at the 2007 Asian Athletics Championships and a bronze medal at the 2007 IAAF World Championships. She is known as the Asian Black Mare.

Early life[edit]

Jayasinghe was born in Uduwaka, 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.

Career[edit]

Jayasinghe won silver in the 200 m race at the 1997 World Championships and then travelled to the United States of America to train for the 2000 Summer Olympics. With no support from her national athletics association, she had to go heavily into debt to reach the Olympics, but in the Women's 200 meters finished behind Marion Jones and Pauline Davis-Thompson to win the bronze medal and become Sri Lanka's first Olympic medalist since 1948. On October 5, 2007, Jones admitted to having taken performance-enhancing drugs prior to the Olympics, and Jayasinghe was later awarded the silver medal.[2]

Jayasinghe was suspended from competition in April 1998 for failing a drug test that she claimed was rigged because of her political beliefs and a falling out with a Sports Ministry official. She was later cleared of the offense. During a press conference for the women's 200m medalists at the 2000 Olympics, when asked whether her country would be proud of her, she said in a quiet voice:

"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.[3]

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. However, after her medal achievement she was supported by a national fundraising drive in her homeland.

She visited Los Angeles to train with Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam (Asian Games Gold Medalist in the high jump in 1958, and two time Olympian in the 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[4] in order to focus on becoming a mother.[5] On March 31, 2009, she gave birth to a baby boy.[6]

In November 2010 she announced her plan to return to competition.[7][8]

Personal bests[edit]

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

Achievements[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1994 Asian Games Hiroshima, Japan 2nd 200 m
1995 Asian Championships Jakarta, Indonesia 2nd 100 m
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 Lisbon, Portugal 4th 200 m
2002 Asian Championships Colombo, Sri Lanka 1st 100 m
1st 200 m
Commonwealth Games Manchester, England 4th 100 m
Asian Games Busan, South Korea 1st 100 m
IAAF World Cup Madrid, Spain 2nd 100 m
4th 200 m
2006 Asian Games Doha, Qatar 2nd 100 m
3rd 200 m
2007 Asian Championships Amman, Jordan 1st 100 m
1st 200 m
World Championships Osaka, Japan 3rd 200 m

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Daily News: SPORTS STRIVING FOR GREATER HEIGHTS AFTER INDEPENDENCE, Thursday, 4 February 2010
  2. ^ ESPN, Dec. 9, 2009: "IOC reallocates Jones' medals"
  3. ^ Adrian Wojnarowski: A bit of foolishness to ease the tension, Friday, September 29, 2000
  4. ^ Sinhale Hot News: "Susanthika Jayasinghe announced her retirement"
  5. ^ 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."
  6. ^ LankanNewspapers.com: "News Image 41703 – Susanthika Jayasinghe gives birth to a son"
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "Lanka's Olympic medalist sprinter to return from retirement". The Times of India. 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  9. ^ 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