Sri Lanka's 'Vaulting Queen'Works as Dubai Housemaid to Support Family

Endurance Amidst Hardships: The Journey of Sachini Perera , Sachini Perera, a celebrated Sri Lankan athlete known as the "Vaulting Queen," has made extraordinary sacrifices to support her family back home.

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The Sacrifice of Sri Lanka's 'Vaulting Queen' in Pursuit of Family and Dreams

Despite her remarkable talent in pole vaulting, Perera put her athletic dreams on hold due to Sri Lanka's currency crisis and escalating medical expenses required for her mother's long-term care. Leaving the world of crossbars and crashmats behind, she found herself working as a housemaid in Dubai since July of the previous year. However, her determination to win gold and return to her passion for sports burns brightly.

A New World, A Familiar Dream

Embracing her current reality, Perera sees her job as a housemaid as a means to provide for her family during their challenging times. Yet, she knows deep within that her true identity lies as a gymnast and athlete. With unwavering resolve, she balances her responsibilities, taking care of a child and tending to household chores during the day, while diligently following a strength training schedule from her coach in Sri Lanka. Her dream of becoming the first girl from Sri Lanka to win an international medal in the pole vault remains steadfast, driving her to persevere step by step, never losing sight of her ultimate goal.

A Rising Voice for Sporting Talent

Perera's situation gained widespread attention when a Sri Lankan television channel featured her story, prompting criticism of authorities for not doing enough to retain their sporting talent. In response, the Sri Lankan consul general in Dubai, Alexi Gunasekera, stepped in, working towards finding her a sports-related job in the emirate that would allow her to focus on training. Perera's undefeated record since 2018 and her national record in pole vaulting further underscore her potential, instilling hope that the right opportunity will soon emerge to support her athletic aspirations.

Economic Struggles and Stepping Away

Sri Lanka's economic collapse compelled Perera, like many others, to seek work abroad, primarily in Gulf nations, to cope with the rising cost of living. For a year now, she has dedicated herself to providing for her family in this foreign land, sending most of her earnings back home to support her mother's care. Perera's decision to work as a housemaid has garnered criticism, but she remains resolute in her choice, asserting that her priority is her family's well-being.

Advocacy for Fellow Athletes

Beyond her own challenges, Perera advocates for fellow athletes who face similar struggles despite achieving medals for Sri Lanka on the world stage. She wishes to shed light on their stories, urging support for those in need. Despite the hardships she endures, Perera remains grateful for her current employers' understanding, who grant her time off to pursue her training at gym and pool facilities and even take her to the beach and Safa Park every week. While she yearns to return to competition and her dreams, she acknowledges that her present situation is a stepping stone towards achieving her ultimate goal.

A Glimpse of Hope

Perera's story has caught the attention of the Sri Lankan government and sports authorities, promising a potential solution. Efforts are underway to explore employment opportunities that will allow her to train while looking after her mother's needs. Her talent and determination have not gone unnoticed, and there is optimism that clubs or schools in the UAE may offer her a path to pursue her passion once again. Despite the challenges, Perera's spirit remains undaunted, and her dream of soaring to new heights as a pole vault champion still holds firm in her heart.

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