Chernobyl blade runner: Double amputee defies nuclear fallout

'The moment I put on my blades I felt like I was flying'

Chernobyl Blade Runner: Overcoming Adversity After Nuclear Fallout
Double amputee Tatsiana Khvitsko from Belarus has defied all odds to become a competitive runner and body builder.

The 24-year-old has no legs and just three fingers on her left hand and one on her right as a result of Chernobyl radiation.

Her disabilities were attributed by doctors to radiation exposure, given that she was born just four years after the 1986 fire and explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

She had a rough start in life after her parents sent her to an orphanage shortly after she was born.

New hope

Hopes of a brighter future came in the form of American doctors affiliated with the charity Project Restoration who visited Belarus looking for children in need.

They discovered six-year-old Tanya and flew her to Kansas City where she was fitted with new prosthetics.

In 2008 Tanya made the permanent move to Kansas City and enrolled at university. Her attention soon turned to running and a company in Florida generously donated a pair of running legs.

She said: "The moment I put on my blades I felt like I was flying. I was running so fast someone had to catch me because I didn't know how to stop.

"I've run ever since, I want to feel that feeling of flying over and over again."

Just three months after receiving her blades, Tanya competed in her first 5km run and has since raced two half marathons and dozens of 10km's.

Tanya challenged herself more and took up crossfit, a full body workout using a combination of cardio, strength and weight training. She has now entered body-building competitions, reports The Mirror.