Olympic torch relay begins in New Delhi

April 17th, 2008 - 7:25 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Apr 17(ANI): The Olympic torch relay commenced from Vijay Chowk near Rashtrapati Bhawan on Thursday afternoon amid tight security.

Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi handed over the torch to sports personalities including long jumper Anju Bobby George, former hockey player Jafar Iqbal and shooter Abhinav Bindra.

A long caravan of security vehicles and police persons followed the Olympic torch along relay route. Over 70 people are took part in the relay. They were accompanied by Chinese security personnel.

Earlier, three Tibetan protesters tried to enter the Le Meridian Hotel where the torch was kept. They were immediately apprehended.

Ace shooter Jaspal Rana, Sarod maestro Ayaan Ali and pugilist Vijender Kumar joined several others in opting out of the relay run.

However, Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF)s Secretary General Colonel PKM Raja said,”The report is incorrect. Vijender was never invited for the torch relay hence the question of his refusal to take part does not arise. Only Commonwealth Games Gold medallists were invited for the relay.”

Some two dozen Tibetan exiles staged a protest on National Highway number eight, chanting anti-China slogans. (ANI)

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