St Petersburg – Russia, Oct 19, 2013: SportAccord and IJF President, Marius Vizer led a SportAccord delegation as they visited Republican Clinic Hospital Orphanage as part of the World Combat Games’ rich cultural programme on Saturday morning.
While St Petersburg has been swept by a cold snap, and the below zero temperature inevitably led to the first snowfall of the year this morning, the SportAccord delegation received a warm welcome as they ensured the world-renowned event would leave a lasting legacy in the community. Marius Vizer was joined by Sergey Soloveychik, Chairman of the Combat Games and EJU President, as well as several World Combat Games Ambassadors.
The Republican Clinic Hospital Orphanage institution welcomes thirty two children diagnosed with HIV and is the only centre of its kind in the country.
Evgeny VOROMIN, Head of the Orphanage, said: “In 1989, we saw 270 first cases of children infected with HIV diagnosed. Some of them were abandoned and this institution was created in 1990. At that time there was no treatment to slow down the disease and the kids were coming here to die. In 1997, tri-therapies were discovered and today we can give a future to the kids.
“We welcome here the most complicated cases. We treat them and we give them the opportunity to smile. We also give them education and all the children are going to school. They must feel as ordinary children. To help them, we also use sport and specially fighting and combat sports. It is very important, because the children have to learn to be mentally and physically strong.” The children’s faces lit up with smiles as they met World Combat Games Ambassadors such as Ju-Jitsu Ambassador Vincent PARISI.
PARISI, the son of 1980 Olympic judo champion Angelo PARISI, who said: “I am very proud to represent my sport, jujitsu, and judo as well here in St Petersburg. This is for me a fantastic opportunity to speak about my passion. Being an ambassador and having the chance to meet children as we are doing it here in Russia is fantastic. We don’t all start with the same chances in life, but being able to transmit a bit of joy is something we can do today.” After a short introduction, where all guests and ambassadors met with the youngest orphans, the oldest ones proposed a concert to the assembly.
All the ambassadors present today during the visit shared their sports and life experiences with the children who were keen to learn more about taekwondo, karate or fencing. Around a late breakfast table the children and guests sat down for a long exchange with lots of laughter, big smiles and happiness. World Combat Games souvenirs were distributed to all the children.
Vizer, SportAccord and IJF President, declared: “I am impressed and very touched by what I saw this morning. Since 1992, I am supporting a similar project in Romania, so it really means something to me. The sensibility of those orphans who have suffered and still suffer is very high and it is a chance for them to be well educated. I am really impressed by the living conditions in the institution.
“A visit like that is not directly connected with our event in St Petersburg, but our human sense must prevail and as human beings we have to show solidarity. The World Combat Games give us this opportunity.
“To visit such an institution also reminds all of us that when we wake up in the morning we are not all facing the same challenges. By helping these children we can contribute to building a better world and in that sense martial arts are particularly good.
“We had very positive feedback from the children. They want to socialise and we could feel it. They were very happy. Sport and culture are very important factors for the development of a better society. I really want to congratulate the institution for the outstanding work they are daily doing to improve the lives of the children.”
Before leaving the hospital, Vizer announced that all the children will be invited to attend the World Combat Games in the upcoming days and that they will be treated as special guests. —- SportAccord
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