The name Sree Abiraame Chendren is synonymous with the sport of figure skating, not only locally, but in the international arena as well.

She may have just turned nine, but the young champion has already won numerous medals and created various records, in the sport.

However, Abiraame's future dreams of competing in the Winter Olympics is now at the risk of being put on ice, as her father B Chendren, is running out of funds to support the costly sports, and there is no help forthcoming from the authorities, reported Free Malaysia Today (FMT).

According to the portal, the COVID-19 pandemic has badly affected Chendren, an engineer who runs his own consultancy firm.

So far, he has had to sell his house in Petaling Jaya for more than RM200,000, sold a car, and dipped into his EPF savings once he turned 55 recently, just to sustain his daughter's sporting career.

Those who have praised the young champ's previous achievements are former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, ex-deputy prime minister Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, among others, but financial assistance has not yet come.

A businessman from Klang and many of Chendren's friends have helped financially, but it is never enough.

"If not for the pandemic, I could keep her going. But it's hard now.

"I really hope the sports ministry or someone could help. They don't have to sponsor her in full. I can still come up with some money every year, but it is expensive," Chendren told the portal.

Without any form of assistance, Chendren said he could run out of finances by next year.

"Then, I will have no choice but to bring her home. The dream will end."

Abiraame and her mother Shyamala Ramachandran are currently in Riga, Latvia, where the young skater began training at the International Figure Skating Academy there, following her win of four gold medals and a silver at the 5th international championship skate in Abu Dhabi last February.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Chendren managed to make it home, but mother and daughter are still in Riga, so Abiraame could train every day.

Chendren only gets to speak to both of them past midnight every day (due to the time difference), and accommodating mother and daughter in Riga, and supporting the latter's rink fees and training fees do not come cheap.

Abiraame was just three when she took to ice skating, and there is no looking back since. Her achievements include getting into the Malaysia Book of Records twice - as the youngest to win the Skate Asia figure skating competition (aged just 5 years and 8 months), and the second for winning the most number of medals (21) in international figure skating competitions, aged just 7 years and 4 months old.

The multiple medals she had won from around the world adorn a section of the girl's modest family home in Seri Kembangan, Selangor.

The young champ is aiming to take part in the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics in Korea, and then the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy, but those dreams could be dashed if the family fails to find a source of funding to support her.

Let's hope that the powers that be take note of her plight and extend the necessary assistance, so that Abiraame can not only make her family proud, but the country too, by winning future figure skating championships.

Source: FMT
Photo: FMT