Moscow has opened its doors to a mini Olympics set up by a local charity aimed at aiding the recovery of children who have fought off cancer.
An event known the world over, and which has graced stadiums like the Beijing Bird’s Nest, now has a different home.
At some point in their lives, these children have all had to fight for their survival.
“I was three years old when I was told I had leukemia, it feels good being around others that have had to go through a similar experience,” Erik from the Hungarian team told RT.
Now though, they are fighting for something else – a podium spot. From different countries and cultures, all these children are taking part in a mini Olympic Games. All the competitors share one common trait – they have suffered from cancer, so for them the real finish line is a full recovery.
“It gives them even more strength to continue, as there is a reason to become healthy again,” Michelle Krisztina Evans, mother of a Hungarian participant, told RT.
Erik is competing for Team Hungary – they are squaring up to competition mainly from other European countries. Despite some of the difficulties encountered in training, confidence does not seem to be a problem.
“I’m pretty sure that we are the best, I hope that we will win,” Erik told RT.
Not quite Beijing – in a field on the outside of Moscow, these children still flourish with that very Olympian challenge, competing for your country.
The organizers are trumpeting this exercise as a chance to set an example to others.
“It gives huge support to kids who are in hospital because they see these people out running, playing, swimming,” one of the event’s organizers, Nadezhda Kuznetsova, told RT.
Although Erik got pipped to the post this time round, in this race more than any other, it is not the winning that counts but the taking part.