Two HIV positive teenagers from Bengaluru are to participate in the Olympics in the Netherlands next month. The duo will be participating in a 500-metre and 100-metre sprint respectively.
Discarding the stigma attached with HIV infected people, this is for the first time two teenagers, Manik (15) and Babu (14), will be representing the country at international level.
"In the sport, all athletes have dream to win. So I too have the same dream that I will win in this 500 and in my life so that I will an athlete for this country and I will run for my country one day and also I will help children like me and help them also to build interest in sports and to bring them also up so that they will also help the other children so bring the interest in them," said Babu.
Their coach, Alvis Joseph, said despite odds, the two aspire to bring glory to the nation.
"We started with 20 kids in 2009. Today, we got 2,400 HIV positive kids who are doing sports across Karnataka. So that is a great thing. Among those kids, Babu and Manik have been very special because they have been a cut above the rest. They have been participating in all the main stream projects and sports meets that are happening, track and field events happening in the city and they have been qualified for the international children's games which is a children's Olympics. These two boys have been training for the last six years and this is the seventh year they have been performing really well and we have got really high hopes," he said.
Both Manik and Babu are orphans and stay in an orphanage, Sneha Sadan.
Coach Joseph, who also has been raising sponsorships for them with great difficulty, says the duo want to end the prevailing discrimination against HIV infected people and wish to make India AIDS free.