Young badminton virtuoso Thilini Jayasinghe holds the distinction of being the first Sri Lankan woman to qualify from badminton to represent her country at the Olympic Games. At 23 years of age, Thilini is seen as a strong medal prospect for Sri Lanka.

Hailing from the hill country of Kandy, Thilini was a frequent visitor on the campus of Peradeniya University, where both her parents worked. It was a chance happening that one day, when watching a badminton tournament at the campus, she was called upon to play: there were not enough players, and she was needed to complete a draw. Thilini competed and won her firstbadminton game – and has never looked back.

Thilini has won all the Sri Lankan titles there have been to take, in both the junior and senior categories, including the Senior Nationals. She has also had considerable international exposure, having competed in the 2007 Badminton World Championships in Malaysia and the Doha Asian Games and Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.

Her qualification for the 2008 Beijing Olympics has been nothing short of a dream for Thilini. Given that it was a success largely of her own making was even more gratifying. Thilini funded herself for a number of international tournaments, but could only afford to appear at six : and ten was the minimum needed to be eligible to qualify for the Olympics. However, a change in policy meant that Thilini’s hard work and determination paid off, allowing this young woman a chance to live her dream to its fullest