Legendary track athlete and Olympic silver medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe has been appointed by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to promote women’s cricket in the country.
Susanthika, silver medallist in 200m at 2000 Sydney Games, had become the first Asian woman to win an Olympic or world championships medal in a sprint event.
Susanthika, 47, has got the designation of “Consultant — Mentoring and Development of Women’s Cricket” and will “use her story of grit and determination to inspire the present and future generations of women cricketers in Sri Lanka”, according to SLC.
“I am extremely happy with this new challenge, as it gives me an opportunity to help young women athletes take up the game, cope with the challenges, and go on to become the stars they deserve to be in the future,” said Susanthika on Thursday.
“Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to warmly welcome her and is confident that she will be a valuable asset for the game of women’s cricket in Sri Lanka. Her appointment took effect on February 1, 2023,” SLC said in a statement.
Coming from a poor family residing in a village on the outskirts of Colombo, Susanthika had no access to proper sports equipment.
Susanthika came into international prominence when she won gold at the Asian Championships in Jakarta in 1995. She went on to clinch the 200m silver at the World Championships at Athens in 1997 and also bagged the 2002 Asian Games 100m gold in Busan.
However, her crowning glory came in 2000 Sydney Olympics where she won bronze behind Marion Jones and Pauline Davis-Thompson to become Sri Lanka’s first Olympic medallist since 1948.
But after Jones admitted in 2007 to having taken performance-enhancing drugs prior to the Sydney Games, Susanthika was awarded the silver medal.