The Mayor of London Boris Johnson today (Monday, November 26th) personally delivered a lasting memento of London's thrilling Olympic and Paralympic Games to India's medal-winning athletes in Delhi.
Every nation which competed at the London Games was represented by an individual copper petal on the spectacular Olympic and Paralympic cauldrons, designed by Briton Thomas Heatherwick, which burnt throughout the summer's Games. The petals are now being offered to each country as a legacy of their sporting achievements this summer, and will be delivered around the globe before the end of the year. In total 204 Olympic petals and 164 Paralympic petals will be offered to competing nations.
At the start of his visit to India to bang the drum for foreign investment in London, the Mayor today met Vijay Kumar Malhotra, acting president of the Indian Olympic Association, and Indian Secretary Deputy for Sports Pradeep Kumar Deb, as well as India’s 2012 bronze medallist boxer MC Marykom and silver medallist pistol shooter Vijay Kumar, to present their set of petals, at a ceremony hosted by the British High Commission.
About 100 schoolchildren from Delhi, who participated in the British Council and LOCOG’s outreach scheme International Inspiration, also joined Sanjeev Rajput, a silver medal winning rifle shooter at the Guangzhou Asian Games and pistol shooter Omkar Singh, who won three gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, at the handover ceremony and had a chance to view the spectacular petals first-hand.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “It’s a wonderful honour for me to present these beautiful petals to India as a fitting memento of the achievements of Indian athletes in London this summer.
“The iconic, graceful Olympic Cauldron is a potent symbol of the best of British engineering and design, and represents exactly the sort of skills we have to offer the rest of the world, in particular in emerging export markets such as India.
“As Mayor, welcoming the world to our fantastic city for the Games was the experience of a lifetime. It’s a pleasure to be able to bring these petals to Delhi as a gift from London to thank India for being part of our unforgettable summer.”
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said: ‘I am delighted the Mayor of London is presenting Indian representatives with their copper petals which represent the achievements of India’s teams at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The petals from the Olympic and Paralympic cauldron are an iconic symbol of India’s participation in the London Games and a fitting final gift from the city of London.’
1. India’s was the third set of petals to be presented, with the first handed over by LOCOG chairman Seb Coe to the British Olympic Association, and the second presented to Brazilian representatives earlier this month.
2. Over the last three months, Yorkshire based company Stage One which manufactured the cauldron, has cleaned up the petals under the guidance of Heatherwick Studio. The distribution of the 204 petals representing each Olympic nation and the 164 petals representing the Paralympic nations is being done with the help of UPS, the Official Logistics Supporter of the London 2012 Games.
2. The Mayor is on a five day visit to India, accompanied by a delegation of top London business people, to promote London as the destination of choice for investors and international trade. He will be taking part in a series of high-level meetings with Indian business leaders, senior politicians and investors in the key business hubs of Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
The visit is part of a wider series of trips Boris Johnson is planning to key overseas markets in the next 18 months, including China, Brazil and the Middle East. The aim is to attract foreign investment, promote export, create jobs in the capital and build on the huge exposure London received as a result of hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
3. International Inspiration is working hand-in-hand with the Indian Government to make sure all children have the chance to play sport in their schools and communities. International Inspiration is active in six states, building strong links between practitioners and policy makers in the UK and India. The programme is providing opportunities for some of the country’s most disadvantaged young people. These include girls, children with disabilities and children from lower castes. Through LOCOG’s partnership with the Indian Government, over the next decade safe spaces for children to play will be created. In addition, coaches are being trained, equipment is being provided and sports competitions are being organised in India’s 250,000 rural villages.