British PM brings sports icons like Coe to India

July 26th, 2010 - 8:01 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron By Manish Chand
New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) Olympic medal-winning athletes and sports icons like the legendary Sebastian Coe will be part of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s 100-plus entourage when he arrives here Tuesday.

Accompanied by top cabinet ministers, business honchos and sports stars, Cameron arrives here late Tuesday for a three-day visit clearly aimed at adding that extra spark to a long standing relationship.

Legendary middle distance runner Sebastian Coe, who won the 1,500 m gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984, and set eight outdoor and three indoor world records, will be part of Cameron’s contingent that visits IT city Bangalore before coming down to Delhi.

A former Tory MP, Coe, and the chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, is set to talk to top officials associated with the Commonwealth Games.

‘Tanni’ Grey-Thompson, one of the most successful disabled athletes in the world and a TV presenter, Steven Geoffrey Redgrave, hailed as Britain’s greatest Olympian and only one of the world’s only four Olympians to have won a gold medal at five consecutive Olympic Games, and Kelly Holmes, a top middle distance athlete, are among star attractions in Cameron’s team.

Sir Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of English Premier League, a high profile football league, will also be part of Cameron’s team coming to India to herald a new phase in the partnership between a former colonial power and a rising Asian power.

Scudamore and other British personalities will visit Trilokpuri, a working class east Delhi neighbouring, Wednesday to announce a major aid for Magic Bus, an NGO that uses sports to arm some of the poorest children in the world to develop life skills.

This is the first time a visiting leader will be bringing so many sports personalities as part of his delegation on a state visit to India.

The idea behind bringing in sports icons is to underline the special nature of the people-to-people relationship between India and Britain, home to 1.5 million-strong Indian diaspora, said a diplomatic source.

The security of the Commonwealth Games New Delhi will host in October will figure in interactions between the two sides during Cameron’s three-day visit.

There is also a plan for Cameron to visit one of the stadia - possibly the main Jawaharlal Nehru stadium - being prepared for the Games in the Indian capital.

Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, will be heading the cultural team that will also include heads of the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Library, the British Council and vice-chancellors of leading British universities.

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