London Mayor hands over Olympic petal to India

Monday, 26 November 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Boris Johnson hands over London 2012 petal Delhi November 26 2012November 26 - London Mayor Boris Johnson today handed over the copper petal which represented India on the spectacular cauldron during the Olympics to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) during a visit to New Delhi. 

The petals, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, are being sent to each of the countries that competed at London 2012 but some are being delivered personally to the National Olympic Committtees.

Among the people that Johnson made the presentation to at a special ceremony at the British High Commission was Vijay Kumar Malhotra, acting President of the IOA, and India's bronze medallist boxer Mary Kom and silver medal winning pistol shooter, Vijay Kumar.

They were part of the most successful ever India Olympic team, who won six medals, double the amount they won at Beijing in 2008.

Boris Johnson with Mary Kom and Vijay Kumar Delhi November 26 2012India's Olympic boxing bronze medallist Mary Kom (left), London Mayor Boris Johnson (centre) and Indian silver medallist pistol shooter Vijay Kumar pose at the special ceremony at the British High Commission in New Delhi

In total 204 Olympic petals and 164 Paralympic petals will be offered to competing nations.

India's was the third set of petals to be presented, with the first handed over by London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe to the British Olympic Association.

Last week Coe presented one to Carlos Nuzman, the President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, during the debriefing of London 2012 in Rio de Janeiro.

"I want to congratulate all the incredible Indian athletes we have here today," said Johnson.

"India did better than it's ever done before in the Olympics.

"Well done!

"Fantastic achievement.

"The reason we wanted to give these petals to the Indian Olympic community is to inspire you to be the great Olympic champions in the future, to inspire you to 'Go for Gold' in 2016."

On the eve of the Games, there had been calls from several former Olympians for India to boycott London 2012 because of its sponsorship with Dow Chemicals, because of claims that they had links with the Bhopal gas tragedy, one of the worst industrial accidents in history.

There was also a row after the Opening Ceremony when a London 2012 volunteer took the opportunity to march alongside the Indian team, leading to them to demand an apology.

But that all appears to have been forgotten as Malhotra praised London for its hospitality during the Olympics.

Vijay Kumar Malhotra with Boris Johnson New Delhi November 26 2012Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the acting President of the IOA, arrives at the ceremony at the British High Commission with London Mayor Boris Johnson

"The London Olympics have been remarkable for many points as far as India is concerned," he said.

"It was a great success.

"Everything went very smoothly.

"It was a flawless performance.

"Hospitality was superb.

"When we went there we had some sort of apprehension that there will be some chaotic conditions there as far as transport is concerned, but it was very smooth there.

"After the London Olympics, sports got a great boost in India.

"We hope in the next Olympics, we will be winning more medals.

"All those who have come here today brought glory to India and made India proud, and the Commonwealth Games [Delhi 2010] was also a great success.

"I thank very much for the honour they have given to India."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz
comments powered by Disqus