Throughout the Olympic Torch Relay 8,000 members of the British public have been nominated and chosen to be given the honour of carrying the Olympic torch as it makes its way to London for the start of the games. From these 8,000 people, a few members of our Tamil community have been awarded this honour.
Sam Ramsamy – From primary school teacher to anti-apartheid campaigner, Sam Ramsamy has led an impressive career thus far. Aged 74 Mr. Ramsamy was given the honour of being one of the London 2012 Olympic torchbearers. He sat as Chairman of the South Africa non-racial Olympic Committee from 1976 to 1990 and became President of South Africa’s official National Olympic Committee from 1991. He led the first non-racial South African team to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and served with the International Swimming Federation. Currently a vice-president and official FINA spokesperson he also is a member of the International Olympic Committee and sits on the co-ordination committee for the London 2012 games.
Sivakumar Renganathan – 32 year old Sivakumar Renganathan was recognised through the Newham Inspiring Peoples’ Award in February 2012, where he was nominated under the sport category as a Taekwondo instructor for his work as cadet coach for the National Academy and also the GB national team coach at the European Championship. Added to this, the martial arts expert was also commended for the creation of his club, Gurumu Taekwondo, which is currently ranked as the number one club in the country, and having his students represent Great Britain across Europe including last year when his team won first place at the British National Championships. Proving to be a role model for the younger generation as well as an inspirational and influential member of the community, Siva was nominated by his student to carry the torch during the relay. On the 25th July he ran with the Olympic torch through the London borough of Brent.
Thurairajah Srikantha – Thurairajah Srikantha, the 55 year old marathon runner is still active in sporting activities and is and important part of the community.
Niresha Umaichelvam – Niresha Umaichelvam at 19 years old is the youngest Tamil torch bearer for the Olympic Torch Relay. From the young age of 15 she has strived to live by her ethos, ‘one should always endeavour to give back to the community some of what we often take for granted ‘, and thus started her ongoing dedication to charities. Nominated for her endless passion to help others, from working at charity shops to organising fundraiser events and running in ‘Race for Life’, Niresha also spent her weekends helping out at elderly homes. Needless to say that her devotion to helping others and the less fortunate is what made her standout as an example to others and thus becoming a torch bearer.
Haresh Selvaskandan – Haresh Selvaskandan, a 22 year old medical student from Leicester was nominated for his work with national charity, Medsin. The charity helps implement health projects within local communities and Selvaskandan, as Vice-coordinator, plays a fundamental role shown by his visit to Kenya with the Kenyan Orphan Project. Whilst there he worked closely with children in Kisumu and also helped with the construction of a community school. Filled with passion for medicine, creating awareness, acting for the greater good and for caring for others, carrying the torch for him was nothing less than an honour.
Siva Kaneswaran – Siva is one fifth of the line up for popular British boy-band The Wanted. The Tamil-Irish singer ran alongside his bandmates to carry the torch through Newton, Staffordshire in the Midlands.
If you know of any Tamil torchbearers that we have missed please let us know and we’ll update this article as soon as we can. Check out the photos above. Finally don’t forget to watch the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony on 27th July, directed by Danny Boyle.