The following is a short extract from the final chapter of 8,000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way:
“On the day that Jack’s family flies out, the Olympic torch will be carried by Chai Patel – a former Labour Party donor and now one of the largest donors to the British Olympic Association. Sujith Weerasinghe, Olympics Operations Manager for BP, will carry the torch too, having written his own nomination story. The CEO of the BFI and Samsung’s UK Vice President were listed to carry that day, but as they have since disappeared from the site it’s not clear if they will. Joe Hemani has also disappeared from the site: he was due to carry the torch with the simple nomination story “Joe Hemani is the founder and single shareholder of Westcoast Ltd which was established in 1984.” Westcoast is a technology distribution company. The vice president of Visa Europe runs with a story written by herself, as does the assistant manager of Carphone Warehouse Leeds – it says “Using video technology, I took it upon myself to enhance and personalise the service customers get at Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy Europe.” The head of the company designing the Coca Cola pavilion carries a torch on that day, and while chefs who graduated from Jamie Oliver’s inspirational apprentice programme Fifteen are running – so is the Marketing and Commercial Manager for Jamie Oliver Ltd. And running without any story at all is Paul Eccleston, managing director at techhnology distributor SDG.”
I think the coporate bigwigs who ran instead of Jack should hang their heads in shame!
It is a disgrace that people can buy their way into carrying the torch when other more deserving people who live in the borough miss out. Jack Binstead has been competing at an European level for his country and borough for 6 1/2 years bringing home gold & silver medals in the London youth games and 3 times winner of the London mini marathon. He has put blood, sweat & tears into his sport only to find non-deserving people carry the torch instead. For a disabled teenager who puts his sport ahead of all other priorities in life and who has to overcome his own diificulties just to compete, and above all suceeds, he is more deserving than most of the people I’ve seen carring the torch. Not only Jack, I’m sure there are more people in the borough who could have carried the torch.