Susanthika - 'a born athlete'
Sri Lanka’s top sprinter and Olympic medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe recently announced she is hanging her boots after an athletic career spanning nearly a decade and half.
She has done Sri Lanka proud since winning a medal in the sprint events in the Olympics is not an easy thing, says P T Usha, former Asian sprint queen and Susanthika’s contemporary.
Good physique, good frequency and good style of running are her hallmarks and on account of that she stayed long in the athletic circuit P T Usha observes.
Susanthika’s success culminating in an Olympic medal is the result of hard working and powerful running says former athlete and Asian Games champion Shiny Wilson from India who has participated in four Olympics.
In spite of certain difficult periods in her career she bounced back to claim a place for her in the Athletic Field.
Her last race on the international stage was the 200 meters Semi final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she finished seventh and did not qualify for the finals.
Susanthika made history during the Sydney Olympics in 2000 becoming the first female athlete from Sri Lanka winning a medal for the country.
Clocking 22.28 seconds in the 200 meters she secured the bronze medal, an event won by Marion Jones of US, who was later stripped of her medal on failing dope test.
She is yet to be elevated to the Silver medal status by the IOC.
She missed the silver at Sydney by one hundredth of a second. Her career graph started ascending steeply after winning the silver medal at the World Championships in 1997 at Athens.
Her success at Athens made her the only second athlete from Sri Lanka to win a medal at the Olympics since Duncan White, a burger who won Silver in the 400m hurdles at the 1948 London Olympics clocking 51.8 Seconds.
Rise and fall
The tumultuous welcome accorded to Susanthika on her return from Athens was overshadowed, after doping allegations against her when she tested positive for performance enhancing drugs which sparked widespread condemnation from the government and the media.
However since the second sample proved negative she was cleared of doping charges after a long legal battle.
Susanthika Jayasinge is a “born athlete”, this is how Tilaka jinadasa, the first Srilankan Athlete to represent the country in Olympics described her. Tilaka a national coach now was also Susanthika’s training partner.
Even a lesser duration of training helped her to achieve her feats since she has the natural abilities of an athlete said Tilaka Jinadasa.
Susanthika switched over to 200 meters dash since she found her start in the shorter version, 100 meters was not to her satisfactory.
Since she switched over to 200 meters success has followed her observed Tilaka Jinadasa.