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Security plays spoilsport as Torch relay passes off peacefully

New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) As the Olympic Torch relay passed off peacefully amid tight security here today, Anju Bobby George cautioned India's Olympic contingent before the Bejing Games, saying the athletes still have a long way to go.

''Shooters have a great chance to bring a few medals but in athletics we still have a long way to go,'' Anju told mediapersons after the conclusion of the Torch relay.

The Kerala athlete, however, agreed that the heightened security did diminish the charm of the event to some extent.

''Yes, it (security) did affect the occasion but since this was such an important event, the security had to be kept in mind,'' she conceded.

To the delight of Indian tennis fans, veterans Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi ran together to hand over the flame to Sports Minister MS Gill at India Gate.

''It was a unique experience and an honour to run with the Olympic Torch,'' Bhupathi told mediapersons after the relay.

However, Bhupathi did not seem very excited to have shared the torch with his three-time Davis Cup partner.

''Nothing much, it just made a good picture for the readers and viewers,'' he said.

Since the Davis Cup against Uzbekistan in February, the sour relations between the two players have been open to the public.

Meanwhile, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) vice-president Randhir Singh was a relieved man with torch realy ending on a peaceful note.

''It was very satisfying that the relay went incident-free.

It has been a success here and we have set an example,'' he said.

However, he added with a tinge disappointment that it was sad that no cricketer could be a part of the event because of their prior commitments.

''Cricket is personaly very close to me as a sport and it is sad the no cricketer could be a part of the relay.

''We did miss them but both Sachin and Gavaskar were involved with their IPL meetings,'' he said.

The other athlete who ran the relay was Dhanraj Pillay and the former national hockey captain gave his inputs about the present sate of Indian hockey.

''It was sad that first time in the history Indian hockey team will not be able to take part in Olympics.

''Hopefully the women's hockey team which has gone for the qualifiers in Russia will bring laurels to the country and will secure a medal at the Bejing Games,'' he said.

Even Pillay agreed that the public should not have been deprived of the Olympic Torch relay as the flame arrived amid tight security.

''I feel kids should have ran with the flame but with such security measures it was not possible,'' he added.


Story first published: Thursday, April 17, 2008, 20:33 [IST]
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