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Sri Lanka’s ‘Vaulting Queen’ works as Dubai housemaid to support family at home


last year.

Similar numbers are expected to leave to find work abroad this year.

Perera also wants to address critics on social media who deride her for taking a maid’s job and giving a “negative” portrayal of Sri Lanka.

“It is my private life that I came to Dubai and I work as a housemaid,” she said.

“When I left, no one cared for my athletic life so I had to leave to take care of my family.

“Now they say why go as a housemaid and that I should come back.

“People ask why I make sad news about Sri Lanka, but I’m speaking to say I’m taking care of my mummy and my family.”

Perera says she also wants to speak up for her friends and other athletes who have won medals for Sri Lanka and also struggle to make ends meet.

“People should know about them. Mine is only one story. We have many stories in Sri Lanka, they need help,” she said.

Despite her brave front, it has not been easy to step off the track.

“I miss my competition, my dreams, my future,” she said. “It’s very hard.

“Sometimes I cry with my coach, with my father.

“I do want to start my sports again.”

Support for training

The Sri Lankan government has taken note of her story, meaning there may be a happy ending for Perera.

“When we got the news that a Sri Lankan national record holder has come to the UAE and is working as a housemaid, as consular officials we had to act,” said Mr Gunasekera.

“We are trying to see what can be done with the support of Dubai sport authorities.

“She needs time to train and she needs an employment opportunity to earn because she has to look after her mother.”

Mr Gunasekera said in popular sports such as cricket, Sri Lankan sportsmen earned enough to handle their family’s medical expenses but other athletes may not be able to cover charges.

“Sachini has the talent and is determined. I’m positive there are clubs in the UAE or schools she can work in to achieve her dream,” Mr Gunasekera said.

Despite yearning to follow her passion, Perera said she is grateful to her current employers who give her time off to use the gym, pool facilities and take her to the beach and Safa Park to train every week.

“They treat me very well,” she said.

“I have gone past a bad situation because of them.”

Source – The National



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