Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 9, 2022: The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka had special reason to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.
The NOC took to social media to announce that pioneering mountain climber Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala had been selected by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay as one of five inspirational women for International Women’s Day.
“It's International Women’s Day! We are very proud to announce that Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala, the first person from Sri Lanka to summit Mount Everest, is selected by Birmingham 2022 as one of the five inspirational women for International Women's Day 2022,” the NOC said.
Jayanthi commented: "We need to question gender stereotypes. If I believed everything people had said about women not being strong, or about women not being able to climb mountains, then I would have not made it to the top of Mount Everest."
Jayanthi was among the baton-bearers in Sri Lanka for the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay on the road to Birmingham in the English Midlands. The relay toured 72 Commonwealth nations and territories in five months and the organisers selected five inspirational female athletes for International Women’s Day.
Birmingham 2022 reported: “Baton-bearer Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala made history by being the first Sri Lankan to summit Mount Everest. A proud feminist, one of the many projects Jayanthi is involved with is Delete-Nothing - an online platform which aims to support survivors of technology-based violence and abuse and highlights the importance of maintaining records of incidents of violence, for further action.”
Sri Lanka NOC has also organised a women’s competition to mark International Women’s Day based on the United Nations theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.”