The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Lankans off to London


With the confirmation of the final addition to Sri Lanka’s Olympic Team which came on 18th July 2012, the full Sri Lanka contingent is confirmed and ready for take off. Thilini Jayasinghe will be the last member of Team Sri Lanka, competing in the Badminton Women’s Singles Event in London. She hails from Kandy where she attended Mahamaya College and was named Best Sports Woman in 2004.
Thilini took up badminton at the age of ten as she loved watching sports and grew up watching her father as a sportsman.

She names her family

“Out of 20 million people in the country I am the only girl who will represent my country in Badminton at the Olympics.”

, particularly her mother and her brother, as the individuals who have had the greatest impact on her sporting career. Thilini trains under the direction of Pradeep Welagedara and has had an enormous range of competition experience, including competing at the 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 Asian Championships with her best rank as a quarter finalist. She competed at the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games as well as the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games where she was also a quarter finalist. As well, she was part of the team that won a silver medal at the 2006 South Asian Games. To top off her badminton success, Thilini is also a former Olympian; in fact, she is the first woman shuttler to have ever represented Sri Lanka at the Olympic Games. Her Olympic debut took place at the last Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008. That same year she underwent a one-month international training stint in India.
Thilini recalls the day she got selected to compete in Beijing as her most memorable moment in sport.
This year, seven is Thilini’s lucky number. She is the seventh and final member of Team Sri Lanka, and she has definitely been lucky in obtaining her Olympic berth. A very last minute withdrawal of a women’s singles player from South Africa opened up a quota place which was re-allocated to Thilini due to her world ranking of 109th place. While Thilini has not been training for the Games, she is still very excited for the opportunity and says that all of the good deeds and kindness she has shown in her life have been rewarded in the form of this Olympic opportunity. “Qualifying to the Olympic Games means a lot to me. Out of 20 million people in the country I am the only girl who will represent Badminton in the Olympics.”
While Thilini rushes to get prepared, our Chef de Mission, Mr. Deva Henry, is already in the United Kingdom. He has brought the Sri Lankan sunshine to London and as it glimmers, he is working to ensure that the Games will provide only the best for our athletes. Mr. Henry has reported that Team Sri Lanka has four wonderful and capable assistants helping out and they are very excited for the arrival of the full Sri Lanka delegation in London. Sri Lanka’s swimmers arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday 20th July, and the remaining delegation will join them soon. The official welcome ceremony for the team will take place on 25th July, 2012 at 1430 (London time). Sports Minister, President of the National Olympic Committee, and the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in London will all be in attendance.

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