Sachini: the gymnast who turned pole vaulter | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Sachini: the gymnast who turned pole vaulter

24 January, 2021
Sachini Perera
Sachini Perera

Sachini Perera of the Army set a new Sri Lanka record in the women’s pole vault event at the 98th National Athletic Championship held at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

This was the only Sri Lankan record set in the National championships as she cleared 3.56m to shatter the previous record of 3.55m held by Jaffna’s Anitha Jegatheeswaran last year.

Sachini started her sports career in gymnastics and never had any idea to be a pole vault athlete. It was a very rare achievement for her to meet with success.

Sachini represented Sri Lanka in the Commonwealth Games 2014 as a gymnast and later turned to athletics following an invitation from the coach and has come a long way since then.

“I won a bronze medal as a gymnast at the Invitation Singapore Competition. When I was at Christ King College Pannipitiya I was accompanied by a senior athlete who was doing the pole vault.

“I was very keen to see her jumping. But she decided to give up pole vaulting and the coach invited me to take to this sport. I never thought that I could go up to this level,” recalled Sachini.

Sachini could not win a single competition at the beginning. However her coach always encouraged her to continue and today she is very happy with her achievements though she faced many difficulties.

Sachini never owned a pole but used one owned by a veteran athlete.

One day the pole broke during practices but the owner did not blame her.

Thereafter, Sachini was presented a pole by the Provincial Council and another from the Army.

“I was not familiar with the two new poles and used the one that broke and is shorter. However I set the new Sri Lanka record using this broken pole,” said Sachini with pride.

Sachini hails from Gampaha and could not train for weeks due to the coronavirus but her coach Sanath Gunaratne prepared a pitch in his house and Sachini resumed training there.

Her experience in gymnastics also helped her to be a good pole vault athlete as she used her flexibility and endurance to improve in the event.

Sachini is selected into the national pool after this achievement at the national championship.