The motherhood is the most treasured moment for any woman, no matter what she had achieved in life before. One could go places and become a celebrity but the most cherished in a woman s life is becoming a mother.
This is exactly what our sprint queen Susanthika Jayasinghe experienced on Tuesday when she gave birth to a baby boy, her ultimate goal after hanging her spikes last year after a distinguished international career since 1993.
Undoubtedly, the 33-year-old woman sprinter is the most successful athlete that Sri Lanka has ever produced. She rewrote local sports history, winning Sri Lanka s first Olympic medal in 52 years.
Her timing of 22.28 seconds to secure women s 200m bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games is the most precious moment in Sri Lanka s sporting history.
Besides the Olympic glory in Australia nine years ago, she had many firsts for her country, winning medals at the IAAF World Championship, IAAF World Cup, gold medals at Asian Games and Asian Championship. That is apart from many gold and silver medals she has won at South Asian Games and other regional meets. True that she would value all those medals which have been earned through dedication, devotion and her pure talent.
But the most precious gift in Jayasinghe s world from now onwards would be her new born baby boy who would add thousands of gold medals to the women s sprinter s world with her husband cum coach Dhammika Nandakumara, who too has represented Sri Lanka in athletics.
Jayasinghe s career is an example to any rural athlete. She had nothing but her talent to depend on but eventually it was her born skills which transformed the rural girl from Warakapola to a celebrated woman athlete who prominently marked Sri Lanka in the international athletic map . She has had many ups and downs, surviving many tense moments in her life. But she had courage and determination to beat all odds and emerge victorious in every sphere.
It was Jayasinghe who was instrumental in opening a new chapter in Sri Lanka s athletic history, winning her country s first ever IAAF World Championship medal. She finished second behind Zahanna Pintusevich of Ukraine to secure women s 200m silver at the IAAF World Championship in Athens, 1997. What is most admirable in Jayasinghe s career is the fact that she was able to win another IAAF World Championship medal exactly a decade later - a bronze in Osaka, 2007. This is not an easy task for an athlete to perform, especially in sprints.
Ever since, Jayasinghe s dream was to become a mother. Even after winning her last international medal in Osaka two years ago, Jayasinghe told me that she is eagerly looking forward to have her first child soon and that motherhood is second to none.
Recalling the hard but enjoyable times her mother has had with a big family, Jayasinghe had many dreams of becoming a mother. That even prompted her to take extra care of her sisters kids.
But today, Jayasinghe has got that most valuable gift which she could not win during her track life . However, the motherhood would not take Jayasinghe completely away from athletics. She is keen to give something back to the nation but she is still undecided on how she is going to do that. Definitely Jayasinghe has a wide range of experience.
She is ready to share that with the future generation and tomorrow s gold medallists in a manner in which would not affect the joy she is experiencing after becoming a mother. Perhaps, Jayasinghe s son could well emulate his proud mother s feats. But it is too early to predict anything. Nevertheless, Jayasinghe would give Sri Lanka athletics many more gifts in a different capacity in the years to come. The Daily News wishes Jayasinghe, her baby boy and husband all success in the years to come!