Updated: Nataly Landaverde represents El Salvador at the London Olympics.
Individuals who delight in sponsoring children in the developing world can take heart in the progress of 22-year-old Gladys Nataly Landaverde.
The former World Vision sponsored child represented El Salvador in the women’s 1500 meters track and field event at the London Olympics.
Nataly benefitted from World Vision’s Betania development program based in northwestern El Salvador.
In addition to helping improve children’s health and education prospects, the program also sought to enhance children’s sporting and recreational opportunities.
Nataly’s athletic career got its first big break in 2002, when World Vision invited sponsored children in Betania to participate in a sports competition before judges from the country’s national athletics commission.
Her success allowed her to compete in her first national level sports competition in the city of Santa Ana when she was just 11 years old.
Nataly and four other sponsored children went on to receive a scholarship from the National Athletic Foundation, where they got the opportunity to train and live at a sports complex for the country’s top-flight athletes.
Nataly says the support she received inspired her during tough moments in races. She recalls one particularly difficult event in Trinidad and Tobago.
“It was very hard to win [the race] because the other runners were running into each other,” she says.
“But I thought of God, of my family, and of all of the people who believe in me. They were waiting for good results and I could not let them down. I thought about the support that World Vision had given us and for the support that allowed us [to] get ahead in life.”
Nataly’s mother, Emma del Carmen, also expresses thankfulness to World Vision sponsors.
“My daughter was able to take advantage of this door that you opened for her,” she says.
Even so, she confesses that having a top athlete for a daughter is not always easy — particularly when she is away at events and can only talk to her via telephone. She says her daughter calls her every day from London, but is only allowed to speak for 6 minutes.
The opening round of the women’s 1500 meters took place on August 6. Nataly did not advance to the next round but did set a new national record for El Salvador.
Thank God for the way he has worked in Nataly’s life. Pray for her as she competes in the coming days.
Sponsor a child in El Salvador. Sponsorship provides children with basics like nutritious food, clean water, healthcare, education, and more — plus a sense of hope and stability that extends to an entire family and community.