Sachin looking forward to carrying Olympic torch

April 7th, 2008 - 7:07 pm ICT by admin  

By Abhishek Roy
New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) India’s cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar said Monday he would be a part of the Beijing Olympic torch relay in the Capital April 17. Tendulkar, however, refused to comment on the controversy surrounding the protests, but said that he was looking forward to carrying the torch.

“It is a great honour for me. I grew up watching the Olympics and I am looking forward to carry the torch,” Tendulkar told IANS.

The Bejing Games, which will be held from Aug 8-24, has run into trouble following China’s crackdown in Tibet. The Tibetans have been protesting for a free nation.

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 China’s Tibetan policy.

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

“The government has taken up the issue and I think all security concerns will be taken care of. 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 Suresh Kalmadi said.

National football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, a Buddhist, has refused to carry the Flame to show his solidarity with the Tibetans.

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