A cluster of Chinese torchbearers with stories of business success have been identified by Stansted resident David Morgan.
The Herts and Essex Observer reports on his findings, and includes a reaction from LOCOG who say “the Chinese nationals were nominated through a campaign by electronics giant Samsung.”
Morgan, however, feels that their stories do not live up to the “inspirational” billing given on the website:
“The nomination stories for Chinese runners are laughable and obviously cut and pasted directly onto the website.”
The runners in Stansted include a 39-year-old from Dongguan. The Olympic Torch Relay website states: “Jianming Li found[ed] Zhong Yu Telecom Chain Group Stock Co Ltd, one of the biggest chain group stock companies on 3C digital products in China.”
The website explains that Mr Li is “dedicated to charity”, and has helped poorer students and the victims of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. The businessman is also described as one of China’s most outstanding entrepreneurs, and one of the most influential individuals in the country’s mobile phone industry.
Jian Wang, a 49-year-old from Nanjing, will be carrying the torch through Stortford. His nomination story reads: “Nicolas Wang is a retail veteran with over 12 years’ industry experience, with more than 16 years’ government background.”
It goes on to describe Mr Wang’s rise from store manager to CEO of the Five Star company, and says he demonstrated “passion” and “diligence” as the firm grew.”
The cluster of nationals may be explained by the logistics of bringing in overseas torchbearers and allocated them within particular geographical areas. Oxfordshire, for example, saw “almost half” of its torchbearer places go to US citizens nominated by Presenting Partner Coca Cola.
UPDATE: Objections were also raised about the large number of Russian “businessmen” who carried the torch through Conwy. We’ve identified at least one of these as a telecomms company boss.
LOCOG have previously stated that all torchbearers including those nominated by sponsors should have stories meeting the criteria of “youth”, “personal bests and/or contribution to the community”.