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`Pass the flame unite the world'

Cricketer-turned-filmstar and businessman Madhukar Nikkanti has been nominated from Andhra Pradesh to carry the Olympic torch


TO BE a torchbearer of the Olympic flame is a singular fantasy cherished by most sportsmen. Some like 27-year old Madhukar Nikkanti are earmarked by destiny to be as blessed.

Cricketer-turned-filmstar and businessman, Madhukar has been selected from Hyderabad to join a team of athletes and celebrities who will have the privilege to carry the Olympic flame from one point to another in New Delhi, where the torch is expected to arrive on June 10. Megastar Chiranjeevi from Hyderabad was among the celebrity torchbearers, but he had to rush to London for some pressing engagement.

Madhukar is euphoric about the whole episode. He will share the historic glory with Aamir Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Aishwarya Rai, Virender Sehwag, Simran Bagga and about 25 others. "It is a momentous occasion in my life," gushes the former cricketer who has been training for the last few weeks, to prepare himself for the 400-metre relay.


"The Olympic torch is the most powerful symbol in the world of sport, and all sportsmen dream of carrying it one day," he says adding, - "The delight is even greater than the moment when the India-A team of which I was a part, defeated Pakistan in 1998."

The flame will travel across the globe via automobiles, jumbo jets, trains, ships, bicycles and camels, in addition to being carried by several hundred torchbearers. On August 13, the journey will culminate with the lighting of the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium of Athens, signalling the commencement of the 28th Olympiad.

"Travelling 3,000-odd kilometres from Greece, the flame will come to India after passing through parts of Europe, Australia and China," says Madhukar.

In India, the event is being sponsored by Coca Cola. Earlier, Coca Cola had organised contests and invited nominations from across the country to shortlist torchbearers who would relay with the Olympic flame.

S.C.

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