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Susanthika renews sex charge

Story hits world headlines as Lankan sprinter pours her heart out
Sri Lanka's Olympic medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe has publicly accused a Cabinet Minister of wanting to have sex with her and being victimised for refusing. 

She named the minister during a crowded news conference at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney and declared she refused and was subjected to sexual harassment thereafter. The story was picked up by the world media and is available to millions of people on web-sites.

Susanthika appeared at the news conference with first place winner, America's Marion Jones and Silver medallist Pauline Davis Thompson of the Bahamas. 

She said: "It was trouble for me, including doping and sexual harassment. After I won the world championships in 1997, the minister (she identified him) ...... the big guy.... He wants sex with me. But I refused. I have a husband...."

Susanthika, now the fastest woman in Asia, said she moved to Los Angeles, and somehow, found a coach to train her for the Olympics. "I had no money," she said. 

"I had nothing." In what appeared to be a plea to the international community, she said "find me another country."

One Los Angeles newspaper commented that Jones successfully completed leg two of her quest to win five Olympic medals, but for once, Marvellous Marion was overshadowed by Jayasinghe's story of sex, drugs, power and influence. 

Susanthika was quoted as saying: "It was a doping case because of sexual harassment." Susanthika, who became a national heroine in 1997 when she won silver in the 200 metres at the world championships, had her world fall apart the next year. "There was a ....... Minister (he is identified by title) in Sri Lanka who wanted to have sex with me."

"I told him I am married. I have a husband. I can't do that. We had a big fight. He told me if you can't come with me, I am going to get you as an athlete.

The newspaper said: "The way Jayasinghe tells it, this ....... Minister who still holds his position in Sri Lanka then set in motion a nefarious plan to have her discredited as a drug cheat. She said that in March, 1998, some Government officials showed up at her home and said she had to take an unscheduled drug test.

"I said no problem, let's go," Susanthika said. "I had been tested five, six times before. I knew I was a clean athlete."

The newspaper said: "But, according to Jayasinghe that is where the skullduggery started. 'I took two bottles. I filled two bottles. I closed my bottles and then I said give me the seals,' she contended. They said, 'Oh, don't worry about it. You don't need seals; just give us the samples.'

"I said I've done this many times. I am an international athlete. I have to give A and B samples and they have to be sealed, and I have to have a signed letter. I asked the people if they would sign my letter. They said no.

"I told them if no one was going to sign, I was not going to give my urine. After 45 minutes, a doctor came and signed. I gave them my urine and said 'You can drink it if you want because I have the letter. Later, I called my lawyer."

In a pre-emptive strike, Jayasinghe's lawyer wrote a letter to the International Amateur Athletics Federation explaining what had happened. A month later, her urine sample came back with a report that she had tested positive for an anabolic steroid, the newspaper said.

"When Jayasinghe returned from the World Championships in 1997, she was bombarded with attention from the public, government officials and the media. Sri Lankan newspapers said she had showered her motherland with glory and honour," the newspaper said.

"I don't know who did what," Susanthika said of her positive test, "but somebody did something. I am a clean girl. I had never been tested positive by the IAAF, but I did after the minister got mad.

"The counterview as explained by members of the Sri Lankan media was that she was a willing participant in the affair until things went sour after her positive drug test. Jayasinghe immediately went to Court and after a legal battle, the IAAF cleared her. 

"But the damage had been done, and an embarrassed Sri Lankan Government made her pay a heavy price. 'My character had been assassinated,' she said. 'They cut off my funding. If I went to train on the track, they would say it was closed. Nobody would help me.'

"Disenchanted, Jayasinghe fled to Los Angeles last year. Despite the fact her husband was still in Sri Lanka, she vowed never to return to her homeland. 

"In Los Angeles, she became connected with trainer Tony Campbell and began putting her career back together. 'I could not eat. I could not sleep, but Tony helped me get back together,' said Jayasinghe, who missed the 1999 world championships because of a leg injury. "I still have time to continue. I'm only 24 years old. I was not able to train. I'm a strong girl. I know one day I'll do even better.'

"After her court case, an uneasy agreement between Jayasinghe and the Sri Lankan Government allowed her to compete in that country's Olympic trials. 'You tell me how else I could run in the Olympics unless I went back there,' Jayasinghe said, clearly indicating this bronze would not be dedicated to her homeland. The feeling was mutual as Sri Lanka's best sprinter was not on the 4 X 100 relay team, which failed to move into the semi finals by about half a second.

"While Jayasinghe expressed no desire to seek a reconciliation with the Sri Lankan Government, she does feel her success gives her enough clout to bring her husband back with her to Los Angeles. 'Now after the Olympics, I can go to Sri Lanka and get him,' said Jayasinghe, who is the first Sri Lankan to win an Olympic medal in 52 years. 'I know some people in Sri Lanka are sad, but they can't touch me now. I've got this bronze medal."

Susanthika is due to return to Colombo on Tuesday. 


CBK flies out

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga left the country early last morning on an unofficial visit to London. 

The President is reported to have gone to London to admit her son Vimukthi to a university. 

She is due to return in the next few days, sources close to the President said.

Before her departure to London the President addressed the nation, warning her party members of tough disciplinary action if they resorted to election violence.


Pay hike for troops

The security forces will receive a pay rise from today.

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga on Friday approved a recommendation by Army Commander Lionel Balagalle for a pay rise.

The pay rise for the security forces will be same as those given to employees in the public sector.

Public servants were given an increase of Rs. 1000 with effect from September 1.


Tamil Nadu's Vaiko again calls for Eelam

Hardline Tamil Nadu politician Vaiko Gopalaswamy has again launched a scathing attack on Sri Lanka despite efforts by the Indian government to get him to toe the official line.

The controversial Mr. Gopalaswamy is a member of India's official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly sessions.

Premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee had included Mr. Gopalaswamy in the delegation in a bid to maintain good relations as a constituent partner in his Government. 

However, Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, reports from New Delhi said, was equally keen to ensure Mr. Gopalaswamy did not make statements, which fail to conform to India's Sri Lankan policy underscored by good relations and mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Despite these developments, Mr. Gopalaswamy gave Time a lengthy interview where he has expressed strong views, many of them not shared by the Government in New Delhi. Asked what impact Sri Lanka's General Elections would have on the island's ethnic conflict, Mr. Gopalaswamy said both major parties were under the thumb of the hardline Buddhist clergy and he believed the Sinhala majority would not make any substantial devolution of power to the Tamils. He accused President Kumaratunga of hoodwinking the entire international community with the mask of providing dialogue and peace. 

Mr. Gopalaswamy justified the use of armed force by the LTTE and claimed that a separate state of Eelam was the solution rather than regional autonomy. 

He said a separate state of Tamil Eelam would not have a chain reaction in Tamil Nadu because it was proud to be a part of the great democracy of India. Asked about the Tamil liberation movements linked to the infamous gang leader Veerappan, Mr. Gopalaswamy dismissed him as a mere bandit.

The reputed Indian magazine The Week recently produced evidence of Tamil Nadu citizens fighting alongside LTTE cadres in Jaffna.


Don't worry, if there's no sticker

By Shelani de Silva
About 10 percent of the poll cards have reached the voters without the security stickers but there will be no problem for them, Assistant Elections Commissioner K. Senanayake said.

But the lack of the sticker on the poll card will not affect any voter and poll cards will be accepted without the sticker, he said.

Mr. Senanayake said the stickers were not put on all poll cards because the process ended when the CID raided the printing press.

"We had completed 90% of the work when the raid took place. We could not paste the sticker on the rest. So we stopped there. But there won't be a problem for any voter. The only advantage is that we can save time when the voter brings a poll card with a sticker," he said. 

The Elections Commissioner said they got the security stickers printed secretly without informing any party, including the President, as part of measures to prevent rigging. But government leaders have criticised the manner in which the Elections Commissioner handled the operation for the security sticker.


Police under fire over violence 

By Chris Kamalendran
With election-related deaths rising to double figures and overall violence escalating, political parties have protested to the Elections Commissioner that their complaints are not being entertained at certain police stations.

At a meeting with Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, party leaders said that in several instances the police had refused or delayed in accepting complaints of election violence. 

Deputy Inspector General A. A. Samarasinghe who heads the Police Elections Secretariat said he would take remedial action and order all stations to act on complaints from all parties.

With the election campaign entering its last week, polls violence escalated with the number of incidents reported to Police Headquarters increasing to 771.

Senior Superintendent M. B. Raban who is directing election operations at the Police Headquarters said that as many as 58 incidents were reported in 24 hours until 6.00 a.m. yesterday.

The incidents included two deaths and a series of violent acts throughout the country on Friday.

A UNP supporter and a PA organiser were killed in Medirigiriya and Suriyawewa while a series of incidents including burning of party offices, shooting and intimidation were reported.

Meanwhile election monitors have expressed fears that violence might intensify in the final spurt for the October 10 General Elections. 

Election observers have identified the Wayamba province as the most violent area with clashes between rival parties and for preference votes within parties also.

The Police Elections Secretariat has confirmed that Kurunegala District in Wayamba had the highest number of incidents followed by Kandy. 

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