Slovakia: Girl from impoverished Romani family wins race running in flats
Annamárie Horváthová, a pupil from an impoverished Romani family, has drawn attention and expressions of sympathy from the public in Slovakia after winning a race in which, unlike her competitors, she was wearing just flats. A co-organizer of the competition has found a sponsor who has now given the girl new running shoes and socks.
Slovak President Andrej Kiska has also met with the promising runner. The competition was participated in by roughly 450 adults and children in the eastern town of Moldava nad Bodvou on tracks of different lengths in June.
The girl has only drawn public attention more recently, however. A local recreation center that co-organized the competition published a photograph of the announcement of the winner through online social networks.
The photograph shows the pupil standing on the winner's podium in the footwear she wore during the race, flats without socks, while her competitors who came in second and third place are wearing running shoes and athletic gear. The recreation center announced that it will be creating conditions for the winning pupil, who attends a Hungarian-language school, to continue improving her running performance under the guidance of a trainer.
On 5 September, Slovak President Kiska visited eastern Slovakia to attend the launch of the new school year and met with Horváthová. "Each child must get a chance. I have no doubt that among the children we have many talents that have not yet been discovered," he said.
The story of the Romani girl, who has six siblings and gets top grades at school, has sparked a debate in the media about the fact that children from impoverished conditions do not have much chance to develop their talent. According to the Denník N newspaper, two years ago another running competition was won in the east of the country by a girl who ran in slippers.
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