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Iraqi child amputee from Stenin Contest winning photo attends football game in Moscow (PHOTOS)

Iraqi child amputee from Stenin Contest winning photo attends football game in Moscow (PHOTOS)
An Iraqi amputee boy has been invited to Moscow after photo of him playing football with other kids won a prize at a contest for photographers aged under 33 – that’s how old Andrei Stenin was when he was killed in eastern Ukraine.

Qassem Qadim arrived in the Russian capital to have fun, see the sights and fulfill his dream of witnessing a top flight football match.

On Sunday, the Iraqi boy became a guest of honor at the Russian Premier League game between Spartak Moscow and Ufa at the state-of-the-art Otkritie Arena stadium, which hosted the FIFA World Cup last year.

He received a ball with the autographs of Spartak stars as a gift and made the first symbolic kick before the starting whistle. The young man then watched the game, in which the Moscow team cruised to a 1-0 win.

The photo entitled “The desire for life” by Iraqi photographer Taisir Mahdi took first prize in sports at the last year’s Andrei Stenin contest.

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The idea to invite Qassem to Moscow came to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova during that award ceremony. “I think you should find this boy… The way he looks at the ball, he really deserves to be here,” she said.

Rossiya Segodnya news agency, which organizes the competition, liked the idea, also promising to help with providing the best doctors and prosthetic care for the boy.

The annual photo contest is held in memory of Rossiya Segodnya photographer, Andrei Stenin, who lost his life, while covering the fighting in Ukraine in 2014. Those under 33 are eligible to compete for the prizes as it was Stenin’s age when he died.

This year a record 6000 entries from 80 countries were submitted. The shortlist of the 2019 Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest is to be announced on June 16, while the winner will be awarded in September.

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