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DateLine Sunday, 19 August 2007

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Susanthika among top 20 athletes for 200 metres event

ATHLETICS: Sri Lanka's champion woman sprinter Suanthika Jayasinghe is due to arrive in Osaka on Wednesday to compete in her final IAAF World Championship.

The latest edition of the IAAF World Championship would begin in the Japanese city of Osaka on Saturday (25) as the cream of athletes around the globe would vie for track and field glory in the world circuit.

The first medal of the week-long championship would be in the men's marathon final which would be worked off at 7 a.m. local time on Saturday. The only other final scheduled for day one would be the men's shot putt final at 8.20 p.m.

But the Lankan lass Jayasinghe would launch her campaign on Sunday (26) with women's 100m quarter final heats. Besides the 100m, her main hope would be the pet event of women's 200m in which she has won Sri Lanka's only IAAF World Championship medal ten years ago.

Jayasinghe feels that she would be able to repeat her 1997 Athens feat in her farewell World Championship. The 32-year-old Lankan lass is currently training in Los Angeles and reports from the US said she has been in good shape to face the challenge. On her arrival in Osaka, Jayasinghe would be joined by her local coach cum husband, Dhammika Nandakumara, a former Sri Lanka athlete.

However, it would be a tall order for Jayasinghe to give Sri Lanka another World championship medal as she is bound to face tough challenge from some of the leading woman sprinters from the USA, China, Ukraine and Bahamas.

The 'A' category entry standard for women's 100m and 200m are 11.30 and 23.10 seconds respectively. The 'B' category standards for respective events are 11.40 and 23.40 seconds respectively.

Jayasinghe has said that she has regained her old touch after her double success at the recent Asian Championships in Jordan. Two American women sprinters are heading the current women's 200m world rankings - Sanya Richards (1,281 points) and her team mate Allyson Felix (1,279).

Richards has advanced to the top from the second spot while Richards moves a step ahead from her previous No.3 position.

In the third place of the current women's 200m world rankings is Kim Gevaert (BEL) with 1,275 points, followed by Debbie Ferguson of Bahamas and American s - Stephenie Durst and Rachelle Boone-Smith.

Sri Lanka's Jayasinghe is currently ranked 20th in her pet event with only 1,197 points. However she has moved two steps ahead after her recent victory in Jordan. Besides Jayasinghe, no other Lankan athlete has even qualified to run in a final in the IAAF World Championship history.

The IAAF World Championship, which is second only to the Olympic Games, began way back in 1983 in Helsinki with 1,335 athletes from 153 countries. Meanwhile, the World 200m and 400m record holder, Michael Johnson contributed to the promotion of the 11th IAAF World Championships, attending a series of medial and fan-related activities yesterday.

 

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