Sri Lanka’s sprint queen Susanthika hangs her boots

By P. Karunakharan, IANS,

Colombo : Sri Lanka’s Olympic medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe Thursday announced her retirement from athletics, ending nearly 18 years of excellence on the field, an official here said.

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“Susanthika today (Thursday) announced her retirement from athletics and was felicitated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees for her contributions to fly the country’s flag high,” Secretary General of Sri Lanka’s Athletic Association, Prema Pinnawala told IANS Thursday.

President Rajapaksa honoured the 33-year-old sprint queen by awarding her a souvenir and Rs.5 million.

Susanthika made history in the 2000 Olympics at Sydney by becoming the first Sri Lankan woman to win an Olympic medal. She clocked 22.28 seconds in the women’s 200 meter finals to win the bronze medal, and missed the silver by only 0.01 seconds.

With the International Olympic Committee stripping then gold medallist Marion Jones of her medals on charges of performing under the influence of drugs, Susanthika is likely to win the silver medal. However, the redistribution of the medals is yet to be announced.

Jayasinghe was a winner of the 200m silver medal in the 1997 World
Championships, thus becoming the first Sri Lankan to win an international medal since 1948.

She has also won medals at 1995 Asian Championships and 1994 Asian Games, in addition to holding national records for 200 and 400 meters.