Vijender, Sushil promote polio eradication

London: Beijing Olympics bronze-madallist boxer Vijender Singh and bronze-medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar, who are currently participating at the London Games, are helping in spreading the word about Rotary`s campaign to rid the world of polio.

Indian athletes participating in the Olympics Rotary`s "This Close" campaign are more than a dozen members from men`s boxing, men`s and women`s weightlifting, and men`s and women`s wrestling teams.

Rotary`s main objective is service -- in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe.

Appealing to the parents, Sushil Kumar, said, "In 1988, 500 children were getting affected by polio in India every day. Today, our country is reaching steadily toward eradication of polio. We need your help to win this fight."

While, Vijender added: "Polio vaccine can save a child from polio paralysis. Let us ensure that children are not paralysed by giving them the vital drops."

Besides Indians, other Olympic athletes participating in the campaign include Olympic divers Tom Daley and Tonia Couch.

Rotary International said that after 25 years of hard work, a campaign involving themselves and their partners is on the brink of wiping out the crippling disease, but a "strong push" is needed now to root it out once and for all.

With no new polio cases being reported for more than a year, India`s experience of containing the dreaded virus has been hailed as the biggest public health achievement worldwide.

India was removed from WHO`s polio endemic list on 25 February, 2012 after completing over a year without reporting any case of polio.

There have been 96 cases of polio reported worldwide this year, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The countries that have never been free of the disease are Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

PTI