Uduwaka lass Medhani Jayamanna, a future medal prospect | Sunday Observer

Uduwaka lass Medhani Jayamanna, a future medal prospect

29 August, 2021

Medhani Jayamanna, a student of Lumbini Vidyalaya, Colombo could be said to be Sri Lanka’s future sprinter. Although Medhani is not well known as an athlete, she has a bright future as an athlete.

The Youth Observer focuses on her this week.

The lass from Uduwaka, Warakapola may be the fastest woman one can find in Sri Lanka today. Two decades ago Uduwaka produced the fastest woman in Sri Lanka - Susanthika Jayasinghe.

Medhani could be introduced as Sri Lanka’s prospect to win medals in athletics at international level.

She is neither tall nor short, but of average height by South Asian standards. However, she has good strength and speed for her age.

Who is Medhani?

Medhani studied at the Uduwaka primary school until 2015.

“After I passed the Grade eight examination I joined D. S. Senanayake Vidyalaya, Tholangamuwa,” she said.

She shined as an athlete in that school which was the turning point of her life.

“At that time, I participated in zonal and divisional athletic meets. Those events encouraged me to further my athletics career. After passing the GCE Ordinary Level I entered a Colombo school.”

Susanthika Jayasinghe, who won a Silver at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, helped her to join Lumbini Vidyalaya in Colombo to continue her Advanced Level studies.

However, she never forgot athletics as she had an inborn talent for it. At Lumbini she came under the wing of athletics coach Umanga Surendra, who himself is a former top athlete.

“His guidance has helped me display my talent. Today, several people help me, such as the school principal, teachers and former students of the school. They give me various kinds of support such as sneakers, nutritious food, medical guidance and coaching advice,” Medhani said.

Susanthika and Medhani

Medhani Jayamanna was born on August 31, 2001 to Susanthika Jayasinghe’s elder sister. However, she said she has no intention of using her aunt’s name to gain fame and fortune.

“She hopes to gain fame only by performing well as an athlete,” a member of the Lumbini old athletes society said.

Athletics career

Her athletics career is not a long one. She has participated in only seven national level meets todate and the World Junior Championship now taking place is her second international meet. A few weeks ago she took part in the Indian national athletics championships.

“I started training under Umanga sir in 2018. He is not keen to mould me into a fast runner quickly. He has a long-term plan to build my speed,” Medhani said.

In 2019 she participated in the National Junior Athletes meet which was her first national level meet. She secured the eighth place in the 100 metres event at the meet with a timing of 13.1 secs.

The same year she competed in the 100m at the John Tarbet Junior Meet and was placed third with a timing of 12.75 seconds.

During that time she faced a personal tragedy when she lost her mother. Her father had passed away 13 years ago. But the coach and school principal, teachers and the old athletes association of the school helped her overcome her grief.

However, it did not stop her athletics career. She took part in the National Athletics Championships conducted by the Sri Lanka Athletics Association for the first time last year and finished seventh in the 100m with a timing of 12.39 seconds. However, in the national selection trials this year she finished third with a timing of 12.21 seconds.

In the second trial, Medhani obtained a timing of 12.15 seconds.

In that meet she took part in the 200m event for the first time and obtained second place with a timing of 24.60 seconds.

“That helped her to take part in her first international meet,” a member of the Lumbini Vidyalaya Old Athletics Association said.

That performance helped her to participate in the 4x100m relay at the Indian national meet this year. Her coach requested the Sri Lanka Athletics Association to give her a chance to participate in the individual 200m event at the Indian nationals to qualify to take part in the World Junior Games in Kenya.

Following the coach’s request, the Athletic Association entered her name in the 200m individual event. She obtained a timing of 24.08 seconds and thereby qualified to take part in the World Junior meet in Kenya.


Following the success in India, at the junior selection trial in Sri Lanka she finished the 100m in 11.85 seconds and qualified to participate in that event in Kenya.

For her age she is performing well and could be expected to come to the standards of former Sri Lanka athletes such as Susanthika Jayasinghe, Sriyani Kulawansa, Damayanthi Darsha and Sugath Thilakaratne.

At present Medhani Jayamanna is participating in the World Junior Championships in Kenya and may have performed well.

The Sri Lanka Athletics Association and others involved must help her to reach international standards. If not for the support of the Old Boys Association of Lumini and its Old Athletes Association she would not be able to stay in Colombo and take part in athletics.

As she is due to leave school this year the Sports Minister must see that she continues her athletics career and maybe win a medal for Sri Lanka in the future.