Greater Noida: As the Formula 1 (F1) fever grips India ahead of the Indian Grand Prix, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso got the polio drive racing in the capital Thursday.
"Every child deserves the right to run, to play and to live a healthy life without polio," Alonso, also the Unicef brand ambassador, said on his visit to government Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya (CNBC) in east Delhi.
"Polio is a terrible, crippling disease of children which we can and should eradicate from the planet," he added.
Hours after arriving in India for the country's inaugural F1 event, Alonso drove to the pediatric hospital where he spent around an hour interacting with the children.
The speed wizard gifted Diwali presents to children undergoing physiotherapy for paralysis in the hospital's Child Development Centre.
He also administered oral polio drops to five infants. "It is critical that all Indian children continue to be immunised against polio until this disease has been eradicated all over the world. We all hope that happens soon."
The Spanish racing driver met children who underwent polio corrective surgery that the CNBC has been offering since November 2007.
Noting that the country has recorded only one polio case this year till now, Alonso lauded the eradication initiatives taken up by India.
The last case was reported from Howrah Jan 13.
Uttar Pradesh, which will host the Indian Grand Prix at Buddh International Race Circuit in Greater Noida for three days starting Friday, has not reported any case of polio for over an year.
According to the health ministry, no case of polio has been reported from Uttar Pradesh since April 2010 and from Bihar since September 2010.