KOLKATA: Eight-year-old Aronyatesh Ganguly is a real winner. The boy from West Bengal’s Serampore has not only made the country and state proud by bagging gold in table tennis at the World Children’s Winners Games 2019 held in Moscow, he is also a cancer survivor. The July 4-7 event is an international sports competition for childhood cancer survivors. “Aronyatesh was so excited he forgot the suffering he had gone through,” said his mother Kaveri, who accompanied him to Moscow. Participants in Moscow competed in six events — track, chess, football, table tennis, swimming and rifle shooting. “Aronyatesh was among 10 children from India and the only one from Bengal who competed with kids from across the globe. He has amazing sporting skills and participated in all six disciplines,” said Ameeta Bhatia, a volunteer social worker at the paediatric department of Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Mumbai, where Aronyatesh was treated for leukaemia. Diagnosed with leukaemia in April 2016, Aronyatesh had to stay in Mumbai for 11 months for his treatment. After numerous rounds of chemotherapy and other medication, doctors declared him cancer-free in December 2018. But he needs regular follow-ups and treatment so that the disease does not recur. It was during his long stay in TMH that volunteers and doctors discovered his passion for sports. Aronyatesh had been practising for the event for more than two months along with regular check-ups to keep himself healthy. “His day would start at 5.30am. From 6am to 7.30am, he went for track and football practice. After that, it was swimming, followed by chess and table tennis. He attended shooting classes in the evening,” said Kaveri. For the shooting classes, he would travel to Bhadreshwar every day. Chief coach at Bulls Eye Shooting Academy Pankaj Podder found a prodigy in Aronyatesh, who had hit the bull’s eye on the second day of his training. The boy has been performing well ever since. “He is a gifted boy. I am amazed at the kind of calm and concentration he has at such a young age. We are planning to train him further,” said Podder, an acclaimed shooter himself. Podder didn’t charge a penny for training Aronyatesh and the academy has already started looking for sponsors to provide for the child’s kits so he can continue training after his Moscow trip. Not just Podder, Aronyatesh’s energy and skill won the hearts of all his coaches. From Soumen Mukherjee, who taught him table tennis, to Sharad Vaze, his chess tutor, and Koel Niyogi, his swimming instructor, all are amazed by his fighting spirit. The World Children’s Winners Games is a yearly event organized by Podari Zhizn (Grant of Life) Foundation, founded by two Russian actors. It aims to rehabilitate children who fought a long battle with cancer. All 10 participants from India this year were selected by a panel at TMH, Mumbai.