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Susanthika looking for C'wealth Games medal

Olympic medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe said the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) has treated her badly in trying to deprive her of a chance to compete at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia.

But a determined Jayasinghe said she could got for a medal if she is given a chance to compete in Australia.

The 31-year-old Sydney 2000 Games women's 200m bronze medallist said that she has been at the receiving end of the AASL and that the athletic officials are not supportive in her attempt to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March.

Jayasinghe has not been included in either the Sri Lanka Olympic super pool or in the 72-member national pool in preparation for key future international events.

"They have treated me like an injured horse. I have been out of action last year due to a leg injury. But I have now recovered from the fracture and is ready to compete in the three key meets lined up for the year," she said, eyeing on the Commonwealth Games, South Asian Games in Colombo and Asian Games in Doha lined up for 2006.

Jayasinghe accused athletic officials of trying to keep her out of Commonwealth Games, even if Sri Lanka gets a wildcard entry. "I have done so much for my country, including an Olympic medal after 52 years. Am I not good enough for them to be considered at least for the national pool," she questioned.

The outspoken sprint queen was coached by present AASL President Dervin Perera when she bagged Sri Lanka's first and the only IAAF World Championship medal in Athens, a silver in women's 200m, nine years ago.

Jayasinghe said the AASL qualifying standard set for women's 100m was 12.16 seconds and that it was easily achievable compared to her standards. "Do they think I am not good enough to be considered for the event, if not at least for the relay squad?" she asked.

Jayasinghe said prior to the leg injury, she came first in two meets of the 2004 Asian Grand Prix series and third in the other. "I clocked 23.24, 22.34 and 22.36 seconds in women's 200m. I could well better that if I am given a chance," she said.

Her personal best timings in women's 100m and 200m events have been 11.04 seconds (at Yokohama Grand Prix) and 22.28 seconds (at Sydney Olympic Games) respectively, both in year 2000.

"I am not scared to run. But my American coach Tony Campbell has advised not to peak right now as I have just come out of an injury. But I have time until March to make my schedule and gradually peak by then. That is why I am not in a position to run at a trial meet right now," said Jayasinghe who plans to fly for Los Angeles later this month to join her coach.

Jayasinghe said she is not scared to run and as athletes they should prepare to face any challenge.

"But I cant take a risk and peak right now. But if the AASL wants, I am ready to prove my fitness. I will run 100, 150m or 200m if they want me to face a fitness trial before I fly to the US," she said.

"Winning a Commonwealth Games medal has been my dream for the last 12 years. That's the only medal missing from my collection as I have medals at Olympic, Asian Games, South Asian Games, Asian Championship and Asian Grand Prix meets.

I don't mind even dieing after winning a Commonwealth Games medal. I know I can go for that if I am given a chance," a determined Jayasinghe said.



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