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Black Mare unaware her bronze turned silver



Madrid IAAF World Cup 2002:

‘I can’t understand why I wasn’t informed’– Susanthika

Olympic medalist, Susanthika Jayasinghe, had been unaware, until yesterday, that her IAAF World Cup bronze was upgraded to a silver more than a decade ago.

Jayasinghe said in an interview with The Island, “I won a bronze in Madrid. Had the winner of the race been disqualified then my bronze would have been upgraded to silver.”

When The Island informed her that the World Athletics had in fact upgraded her bronze won in Madrid to silver years back, she was surprised. She said, “I can’t understand why I was not informed of the silver and was not awarded it,” said the retired sprinter who has two other World Athletics medals against her name apart from the Olympic silver.

Jayasinghe won a silver in the 200 metres of the 1997 Athens World Championships and a bronze from the 200 metres of the 2007 Osaka World Championships.

The 2000 Sydney Olympic bronze Jayasinghe won was subsequently upgraded to a silver after Marian Johns admitted to doping.

Jayasinghe said that she had rightfully received the Olympic silver but admitted that she did not know anything about the World Cup silver until yesterday.

The 2002 Madrid World Cup silver is the only world level medal that Jayasinghe has won in the 100 metres sprint.

Three Sri Lankans, namely, Jayasinghe, Sugath Thilakaratne and Rohan Pradeep Kumara, representing Asia, participated in the 2002 World Cup.

Thilakaratne and Rohan Pradeep formed the Asian men’s 4×400 metres team together with Saudi Arabia’s Hamdan Al-Bishi and Kuwait’s Fawzi Al Shammari. They were placed fourth, but in 2007 it was upgraded to bronze after US sprinter Antonio Pettigrew, who was part of the gold winning US team, admitted to having used performance enhancing drug between 1997 and 2003.

World Athletics and the International Olympic Committee cancelled the gold medals won by US teams involving Pettigrew.

In the women’s 100 metres of that 2002 World Cup, Jayasinghe won the bronze for Asia and finished fourth in the 200 metres. Gold medal in the 100 metres was won by Marion Jones, who was disqualified in 2007 after admitting to having used drugs from 2000 to 2002.

The World Athletics statistics now lists Jamaica’s Tayna Lawrence, who represented Americas, as the winner and Jayasinghe as the second.

Jayasinghe in her interview with The Island expressed shock and disappointment over the failure of the sports authorities to inform her that her bronze had been upgraded to a silver.

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Covid-19 vaccination programme: MPs not in priority group; President, armed forces chiefs in ‘third category’ 



By Shamindra Ferdinando

State Minister for Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle yesterday (25) said that members of Parliament were not among those categorised as priority groups expected to be vaccinated against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Fernandopulle said so in response to The Island query whether parliamentarians would receive the vaccine scheduled to be delivered by India this week. Asked to explain, Dr. Fernandopulle said that health workers, armed forces and law enforcement personnel engaged in Covid-19 prevention operations would be given priority.

“Lawmakers haven’t been listed under priority groups. However, some members may get the vaccine if they are accommodated in the over 60 years category and those suffering from diabetes, heart disease, cancer et al,” the State minister said.

In addition to State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, several lawmakers, representing both the government and the Opposition had been afflicted over the past several weeks. SLPP lawmaker Wasantha Yapa Bandara (Kandy district) is the latest victim. Health minister Pavitradevi Wanniarachchi was among over half a dozen lawmakers tested positive.

Army Commander General Shavendra Silva told Derana yesterday morning Sri Lanka would receive approximately 500,000 to 600,000 doses from India. Responding to a spate of questions from Derana anchor Sanka Amarjith, Gen. Silva explained the measures taken by the government to ensure a smooth vaccination programme. The Army Chief who also functions as the Chief of Defence Staff revealed India had paid for the consignment obtained from the UK.

Later in the day, The Island sought an explanation from the Army Chief regarding the President, Service Commanders, Secretary Defence given the vaccination along with frontline health workers et al, the celebrated battlefield commander said: “Will be in third priority group.”

Asked whether the student population would be accommodated at an early stage of the vaccination programme, Dr. Fernandopulle said that those under 18 years of age, pregnant and lactating mothers wouldn’t be included at all as such groups hadn’t been subjected to trials. Education Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera wasn’t available for comment.

Dr. Fernandopulle emphasized the pivotal importance of following health guidelines strictly in spite of the launch of the vaccination programme. “We shouldn’t lower our guard under any circumstances,” Dr. Fernandopulle said, urging the population to be mindful of those unable to receive the vaccination due to no fault of theirs. As those under 18 years of age had been left out of the vaccination programme, a substantial section of the population would be denied the protection, the State Minister said.

Sri Lanka is also expected to procure vaccines from China and Russia in addition to the doses from India. Health Secretary Maj. Gen. Sanjeewa Munasinghe wasn’t available for comment.

Sri Lanka launches the vaccination programme with the total number of positive cases nearing 60,000 with nearly 50,000 recoveries. The government recently re-opened the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) following a pilot programme that brought over 1,200 Ukrainians in dozen flights through the Mattala International Airport.

Dr. Fernandopulle said that the government was ready to launch the vaccination programme as soon as the first consignment arrived from India.

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Tennis balls filled with drugs thrown into Kandakadu Covid-19 treatment centre



By Norman Palihawadane

Two tennis balls filled with drugs had been thrown into the Covid-19 treatment centre at Kandakadu, Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana said.

The contraband was found on Saturday by the Army officers attached to the facility.

DIG Rohana said the two tennis balls containing cannabis, heroin and tobacco, had been handed over to the Welikanda Police.

A special investigation has been launched into the incident, the Police Spokesperson said. Such incidents had been previously reported from Welikada, Negombo and other prisons, but it was the first time contraband containing narcotics had been thrown into a Covid-19 treatment centre, he added.

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All cargo clearances at Colombo port now through electronic payments




The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has introduced a system where payment for imports could be made via the Internet. This allows port users to make payments from their homes or offices to clear goods from the Port of Colombo.

The SLPA has said in a media statement that the new special facility will enable port users to make their port payments easily without hassle.

At present, all terminals of the Port of Colombo are run according to a strategic crisis management plan.


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