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Cameron, Olympics stars vow to tackle child hunger

As London 2012 drew to a close, Cameron hosted talks with top Olympic athletes on Sunday aimed at tackling child hunger. He pledged 120 million pounds ($188 million, 153 million euros) for crop research.

Gold-winning UK long-distance runner Mo Farah joined the likes of fellow runner Haile Gebrselassie and footballing legend Pele at 10 Downing Street to urge politicians worldwide to help reduce child hunger in developing countries.

Somali-born Farah, who came to Britain as refugee aged eight, said that "I'm lucky to have set up a new life here and growing up here, after being in Somalia as a little boy. But there are kids out there facing hunger and starvation and we've got to do something about it. There are kids out there who need our help. It really touches my heart."

Farah and his wife Tania set up the Mo Farah Foundation, which aims to build 50 wells and to give a month's supply of food to at least 20,000 people as well as medical support to 40,000 by the end of the year.

UK funds for crop research

Calling Farah and other top athletes "role models" Cameron said that "we've a responsibility to tackle this. But the hard truth is that, while we've made huge strides in the last decade on things like education, malnutrition rates have stagnated. I'm determined that Britain helps change this."

He pledged 120 million pounds ($186 million) for investment in drought-resistant crop research, as well as support for schemes such as a text message hunger alert system in Kenya.

Olympic stars had sent an "open letter" to Cameron, urging him to make the issue a top priority during Britain's presidency of the G8 next year.

"The best legacy the Games can leave is a world where strong, healthy and well-nourished children can achieve their full potential in life," they wrote.

Cameron said he hoped to be able to convince leaders and multinational companies to help prevent 25 million children under five suffering stunted growth by the time of the next Olympics in Brazil in 2016.

Senior politicians from Brazil, Kenya, Bangladesh, India and Ireland also attended the talks on Sunday.

ng/msh (AFP, dpa)