Susanthika storms into Olympic ‘semis’
Veteran Sri Lanka woman sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe proved that
she has not lost her old touch when she stormed into the semi finals of
the women’s 200m dash on day 11 of the XX1Xth Olympic Games here today.
The 32-year-old Sydney Olympic bronze medallist and last year’s IAAF
World Championship medallist in Osaka finished third with a timing of
22.94 seconds in her quarter final heat.
Running in lane six of the second quarter final, flanked by former
World Championship bronze medallist Muriel Hurtis-Houairi of France
(lane 5) and Roqaya Al-Gasasra of Bahrain (lane 7), Jayasinghe had an
advantage of making a calculated sprint to make sure that she is in the
last 16 for Wednesday’s semis.
Of all eight runners, Jayasinghe had the slowest reaction time to
take an unimpressive start. But she recovered quickly to follow Al-Gasasra
and Hurtis-Houairi who finished first and second clocking 22.76 seconds
and 22.89 respectively.
“I did a calculated run just to make sure that I will be there for
the next round. There are a few sprinters who have done better than me
and I should not run all out and make an undue competition at this
stage,” the Lankan sprint queen said after making it to her second
Olympic semi final.
Jayasinghe, who rewrote Sri Lanka’s Olympic history, winning her
country’s first medal in 52 years at the Sydney 2000 Games, said her aim
is to make it to Thursday’s final.
“I have a harmless dream of making it to the last eight. I want to be
there in the final. Today, I could not run well.
It was not my normal run and weather conditions too would have
contributed. But that’s no excuse and I will make every effort to make
it to the final and make my country proud,” the celebrated Lankan woman
All three world class medals that Jayasinghe has won in her pet
events have come when hardly any people put their bets on her - silver
at the 1997 IAAF World Championships in Athens, bronze at the 2000
Sydney Olympics and another bronze at 2007 IAAF World Championships in
Osaka. Hence, Jayasinghe is a dark horse who is still capable of
springing a surprise here.
However, she will have to come out with a vastly improved performance
to make a booking for Thursday’s flood-lit final at the Bird’s Nest.
Of all four quarter finalists, Jamaican Sherone Simpson, who won the
fourth race, had the best timing of 22.60. The second best timing came
from Russian Yuiyana Chermoshanskaya (22.63).
Jamaican Veronica Campbell (22.64) won the first quarter final, ahead
of back to back World Championship gold medallist Allyson Felix (22.74)
of USA and Debbie Ferguson of Bahamas (22.77).
Earlier in the morning, Jayasinghe clocked 22.04 second to finish
second in qualifying round heat one to advance to the last 32. She came
two hundredth of a second behind American Allyson Felix who won in 23.04
The race went on a relatively on a low pace as top athletes did not
want to burn extra energy and merely ran to qualify for the quarters.
However, the best timing out of 48 women sprinters who took part in
six women’s 200m first round heats was recorded by American Muna Lee,
who won the second of the six heats.
The 26-year-old Texas lass, who finished only seventh at the last
Olympic Games, clocked an impressive 22.71 seconds - much better than
her 22.87 seconds performance in Athens four years ago.
The second best timing amongst all too was registered in heat two as
former World Championship bronze medallist clocked 22.72 seconds to
secure the second place in her particular heat.
Jayasinghe will now run in the first semi final of the women’s 200m
on Wednesday night at 9.55 p.m. - 7.25 p.m. SL time. The sprinters down
to run in the semi (in lane order from lane 2 onwards) are Roxana Dias
(Cuba - season’s best 22.80), Natalia Pygyda (Ukraine - 22.91), Muna Lee
(USA - 22.30), Veronica Campbell (Jamaica - 21.94), Jayasinghe (22.73),
Chermoshanskaya (Russia - 22.63), Kerron Stewart (Jamaica - 21.99) and
Ferguson (Bahamas - 22.49).
The final is scheduled for Thursday at 7.30 p.m. - 5 p.m. SL time.
USA -China Beach Volleyball final
Defending Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the
USA will meet China’s duo of Tian Jia and Wang Jie in the final of the
women’s beach volleyball competition of the Beijing Olympiad at Chaoyang
Park Beach Volleyball Ground on Thursday.
The Americans advanced to the final with a 21-12, 21-14 victory over
sixth seeded Renata Ribeiro and Talita Rocha of Brazil. On their way to
the final, the Chinese pair had the better of team mates Xue Chen and
Zhang Xi, who were ranked No.4.
Both the USA and Brazil teams went to the semis with an unbeaten
record. But the US pair, who had posted 12 straight wins in a row in
Olympic matches since Athens Olympics, looked too strong for the
The other semifinal match, staged between the two Chinese teams, was
close and intense. Top-seeded Tian and Wang came back from one set down
to win the next two in one hour and 14 minutes.
In the first set, Wang and Tian got two set points first, but were
unable to put away their young, determined compatriots, who won 24-22.
The second set again was played in a seesawing fashion, with Wang and
Tian narrowly taking the win, 29-27.
Top-seeded Wang and Tian started to show their strength in the
tie-breaker, winning the set by a larger margin than the previous two,