Olympic torch will go through Delhi unhindered, Kalmadi hopes

April 7th, 2008 - 5:20 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) The India leg of the Beijing Olympics torch relay will go unhindered here, IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi hoped a day after the London leg was disrupted by anti-China protests. “The government has taken up the issue and I think all security concerns will be taken care of by them. We are also planning out how to host the relay and I am hopeful that we will carry it out unhindered,” Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Kalmadi told IANS Monday.

However, after national football captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s refusal to carry the torch, the IOA chief declined to reveal the names of the torchbearers Monday.

“We are still in the initial stages and working it out,” he claimed. “The final list will be released at an appropriate time.”

Kalmadi did not think any more of the torchbearers would refuse.

“It was Bhaichung’s personal decision. And we don’t think that any more sportspersons will turn down the offer to be a part of the relay as a protest against China,” he said.

Bhutia, a Buddhist, refused to carry the Olympic torch to show his solidarity with the Tibetans.

On Sunday, thousands of protesters waving Tibetan flags and shouting “Shame on China” disrupted the London leg of the torch relay.

Tibetans and other human rights groups are planning similar protests in New Delhi on the day of the torch relay next week to voice their anger against Chinese crackdown in Tibet.

Fearing trouble from Tibetan protestors, the IOA has already shortened the route of the Olympic torch relay here. The original 8-9 km run from Red Fort to India Gate has been shortened to 2-3 km. Details of the redrawn path are being worked out.

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