Two HIV-positive teenagers hailing from Bengaluru will participate in the International Children’s Games 2015 to be held between June 24 and 29 at Alkmaar in the Netherlands.
Around 1,500 athletes between the ages of 12 and 15, from about 80 cities worldwide, will compete in athletics, golf, football, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, judo, beach volleyball and volleyball events.
The two boys from India – Babu and Prabhu Manik – are part of Sneha Care Home and Shining Star School. Despite the life-threatening disease, both of them have been training for marathons for the last seven years and participated in several races.
At the International Children’s Games, Babu will run for 3500-meters event while Manik will participate in 100-meters event and a relay race. They have been training for the last six months for the international event.
The 14 year-old Babu, who is an orphan, admitted being bit nervous about his performance but believes he will be able to take on any challenge.
“I am being supported by Elvis sir. Their foundation has been supporting me. I have a family which is supporting me actually. I am running 3500 meter for this event but actually I am a marathon runner. So, my future plans are like join some organisation, build up some sports event or help children like us,” he said.
Both Babu and Manik, who stays in Karnataka’s Bidar, are supported and trained by the director of Bangalore Schools Sports Foundation (BSSF), Elvis Joseph.
Jospeh, who is their trainer as well as mentor, says the two boys have become a source of inspiration for many.
“We have two kids. See, people talk about HIV. It’s just nothing. For us, HIV is nothing. We have given equal opportunity in sports and I think today they are the ambassadors, the inspiration for the rest of the world because despite the odds if they have trained so well and professionally competing, it has never happened anywhere in the world. This is the first time. I think as a country we should be proud and support many more children like them and give them equal opportunity and right to play sports,” he said.
Joseph added that both the boys have a good chance of winning the competition as many records that the teenagers clocked during the training is equal to existing world records.