B D Narayankar
PUNE: Sri Lanka’s Sushanthika Jayasinghe gave flying kisses, raised her arms and index finger to the sky as she crossed the finishing line first in 100 meters dash, upsetting Uzbekistan’s Guzel Khubbieva, in the final leg of Asian Athletics Grand Prix here on Wednesday.
The gesture oozed out instantaneously as the win against Khubbieva made her realise her progress in the recent past. “It is an amazing feeling. A gold on the last day of the Grand Prix. A perfect climax. It is unbelievable how it feels, I can't find words to express it,” Sushanthika told Maharashtra Herald after the race.
Suffering from injuries and Chikungunya for a prolonged period had dented her performance in the last two years. She somehow kept her pot boiling to excel well in major events across the globe steadily, but gradually. This was clearly reflected after she took a sweat revenge against Khubbieva, clocking 11.34 seconds with a .09 seconds difference.
“Injuries had been bothering me for a very long period now. After getting into the groove through practice and regular training, I decided to go slow and increase the pace event-by-event. I am confident I will be in my elements for Beijing Olympic,” Sushathika said.
Not concerned over the inclement weather at Baburao Sanas Ground, Sushanthika started off in great style and picked up pace at 30 meters mark. “I got very aggressive, which unfortunately for Khubbieva was a bad news. Because when I get aggressive I go really fast. So I got on to the track and just wanted to nail every single stride on to the synthetic turf hard. I did everthing until I reached the finishing line,” she said.
"Sushanthika has been increasing her pace gradually. You have seen it for yourself. Her pace was different from the one she had in the second leg of Asian Athletics Grand Prix,” Sushanthika’s physio Anurai Ranjit.
However, the sub-continent athlete was not amused with her performance complaining about the inclement weather that stymied her pace a bit. “It was tough to accelerate. I am, however, pleased with the facilities available here. It is fantastic. My outing in Pune has been joyous. And beating Khubbieva added for fun to it,” she said.
Khubbieva, who had downed Sushanthika at the last Doha Asian Games, paid rich tributes to Sushanthika’s feat. “I was very close to gold. Sadly, I did not have good legs to beat her today. She was better than me,” the Uzbek athlete said. Khubbieva tried hard to catch out the Sri Lankan, but she could not as she sprinted quickly to reach the finishing line in the last seconds.