by Norman Palihawadane
Sri Lanka’s only female Olympic medalist, Susanthika Jayasinghe says that she has received offers from both Sri Lanka and abroad for her silver medal following recent media reports.
“They have offered as much as Rs 250 million. I too did not know the medal would be worth that much,” Jayasinghe told The Island yesterday.
The ace sprinter said that she regretted that the country’s Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera’s failure to give due recognition to an Olympic medal though the entire world knew of its value.
Jayasinghe said that she could earn a fortune by selling her medal and was willing to give a portion of her earnings to develop the country’s sports. “I could even sponsor Minister Jayasekera’s next election campaign if he likes,” she said.
Jayasinghe recently announced that she would have to auction her silver medal as she was without funds to look after her two children. Jayasinghe said the incumbent government had stopped paying her salary for working as an advisor to the Sports Ministry. She had been an advisor at the Sports Ministry for selecting and training competitors for international athletic events. However, the move to auction the medal was suspended following a presidential intervention. President Maithripala Sirisena has said he will look into Jayasinghe’s grievances.
Jayasinghe won bronze in her 100m event in Sydney when she was 24 and it was upgraded to silver in 2007 when the winner and US athlete, Marion Jones, admitted to having taken performance-enhancing drugs and lost her gold.