Thilini Jayasinghe – first female shuttler to represent SL at Olympics
Thilini Sudhara Jayasinghe was born in 1985 in Kandy and took to badminton and swimming at the age of nine while schooling at Mahamaya College in Kandy.
She had the opportunity of training at the Peradeniya University as her parents were also attached to the same University.
After few years she decided to concentrate entirely on badminton and remained in Kandy despite few invitations to join the elite schools in Colombo.
Thilini won the Under-9 and Under-11 Championships at the All-Island Inter-Schools Badminton Tournament and was named Best Sportswoman in 2004.
Thereafter, she toured India with the Sri Lanka Schools Badminton Team and laid the foundation for an illustrious career.
She joined the national team in 2000 and became the first female badminton player to represent the country at an Olympic Games.
She first participated at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China and also participated at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
She won the Silver Medal at the South Asian Junior Badminton Championships at the age of 14 in 2014 and bagged two Silver Medals at the Maldives Junior Badminton Championships.
At the age of 18, she won the Singles, Doubles and the Mixed Doubles title at the National Badminton Championships.
She won a Silver Medal in the Team Championships at the South Asian Games in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2014.
She won a Bronze Medal in the Singles event at the South Asian Games in 2010 and participated in the Asian Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2006 and 2010 respectively.
Thilini also participated in the Sudirman Cup Tournament in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2015 and also participated in the World Championships in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008.
In addition, she has competed in the Asian Championships in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2014.
She also followed a training programme at the BWF in Germany and won a Gold Medal in the ‘C’ Division Mixed Doubles event at the 2015 World Badminton Championships.
After participating in several local and international events, Thilini retired from the sport in 2018 and later she established her own badminton academy. (C.D)