Croydon Olympic torch relay only involves seven people from the borough
A COMMUNIST TV exec, a computer games tycoon and a venture capitalist? The Olympic Torch route was revealed this week, but just a handful of those representing our community are from Croydon. Sarah May Hayes reports.
OLYMPIC bosses have been criticised for failing to acknowledge the people of Croydon in the torch relay through the town.
The eyes of the world will be on the borough on July 23 – but just seven of the 24 torch bearers announced this week are local.
Our streets will see Chinese state TV executive Jiang Heping, European X-Box boss Chris Lewis, London based venture capitalist Krishna Visvanatha and French Paralympic Committee member Gérard Masson carrying the torch.
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For the Olympic torch route through Croydon, click here
Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, said he was disappointed volunteers and charity workers in Croydon were passed over for more commercial candidates.
"I was very sad to discover that more people from Croydon hadn't been chosen, and I think it is another indication of how corporate people and companies have control over the Olympics," he told the Advertiser.
A total of 8,000 torch bearers will take part nationwide and 700 are still to be named.
But among the rejects so far are David Mullane, 18, who was nominated to carry the flame by staff at Croydon College for his outstanding voluntary work with special needs children.
His achievements include starting a successful drive to secure £4,000 for new computers at the college and being involved with a campaign to improve road safety outside the campus.
Emmanuel Ajoku, an award-winning science teacher, was nominated for his tireless dedication to improving the fortunes of struggling pupils at St Mary's High School, in West Croydon.
Mr Barwell added: "The Games has been paid for partly by the public's pockets, and partly by corporate sponsors so they get a bit back too.
But he added: "I think they should have chosen more people like Mike Fleet, who was a brilliant choice."
In neighbouring Sutton, just three of the 23 torchbearers are from the borough
Green Party activist and Thornton Heath Recreation Ground committee member Shasha Khan said: "It's quite interesting because we have MPs who have said they are unhappy but they could have stipulated earlier that more local people should have been more involved.
"This is a trend that started since the moment we were given the Games.
"It's for big companies and for corporate people, they said it would be for the communities but it has been anything but that.
"I'm disgusted but not surprised."
The London 2012 Organising Committee said that all nominations were judged on an anonymous basis with only their unique ID number, year of birth and inspiring story provided to the judges.
They also said selection panels were looking for people with the power to "inspire the world".
The torchbearers announced so far:
- Jon Dean, 54, South Croydon
- Mike Fleet, 74, Purley
- Molly Ackhurst, 19, London
- Philip Davis, 26, Coulsdon
- Skip Webb, 84, Hillingdon
- Twinelle Hopeson, 20, Croydon
- Abbe Stapleton, 36, London
- Alain Maquet, 60, Brussels
- Bente Grønning, 42, London
- Beth Mckillop, 58, London
- Chris Lewis, 51, Buckleberry
- Dafydd Farr-Jones, 29, London
- Dan Blake, 35, Hertfordshire
- Gareth Jones, 27, London
- Gérard Masson, 64, Jonzac, France
- Heping Jiang, 49, Beijing, China
- John Uwins, 60, South Croydon
- Julene Aguirre Bielschowsky, 26, London
- Julie Galloway, 58, South Croydon
- Kerry Cunningham, 44, Feltham
- Kevin Ruellan, 30, London
- Krishna Visvanathan, 40, London
- Ling Tsand, 32, Croydon
- Lisa Bell, 28, Hayes