By Tenzin Chodon
Sachin Tendulkar (Photo courtesy of tendulkar.co.in)
New Delhi, April 16 - In what is increasingly becoming a tortured torch relay, India’s biggest sportstar Sachin Tendulkar has decided not to take part in the Olympic torch relay in New Delhi.
The cricket great was earlier said to be participating in the relay. However, news media announced today that he won’t be able to run due to injury.
Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi, however, said he has not received any information in this regard. "IOA has not received any communication from Tendulkar withdrawing from the torch relay. He told me a few days back that he will be arriving in Delhi on April 17 morning. I have not received any communication to the contrary, we have to wait and see," Kalmadi said.
The announcement comes a day after Bollywood actor Soha Ali Khan said she could not be a part of the Olympic torch relay in New Delhi for ‘strong personal reasons’.
The Olympic torch relay in New Delhi seems to be jinxed with star runners pulling out of the relay one by one.
The first to pull out of the Olympic torch relay was footballer Baichung Bhutia who decided to boycott the relay due to ‘sympathy for the Tibetan cause’.
A few days later, former IPS officer and tough cop Kiran Bedi decided to boycott the relay as well stating that all the security around the torch relay is just suffocating and that she did not want to run in a caged environment because it went against the spirit of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Torch which stands for total exhilaration. In her own words the Torch stood for uniting people, not driving people away.
Clarifying his commitment to participate in the torch relay Bollywood actor Aamir Khan stated that he believed the Olympic Games did not belong to China.
Aamir also said that "When I do run with the torch on the 17th of April it is not in support of China. In fact it will be with a prayer in my heart for the people of Tibet, and indeed for all people across the world who are victims of human rights violations."
The torch is expected to arrive in the capital from Islamabad later today.
On Tuesday, with the fear of anti-China protestors trying to disrupt the procession, India trimmed the route for the Olympic torch relay this week. The torch will now travel the two-and-a-half-kilometers route between Vijay Path and India Gate. Tight security arrangements have been made for the torch relay. Media report suggests that 15,000 police personnels will be deployed with a Republic Day like security for tomorrows Olympic torch relay.
The torch relay has been earlier marred with disruptions in London, Paris and San Francisco by pro-Tibetan protestors.