Lone Indian in race to carry Beijing Olympic torch

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Kolkata, Oct 17 (UNI) Eight countries, 18 finalists, three torchbearers and it could be one Indian bearing the Beijing 2008 Olympic torch at Sangri-La.

Rajib Maitra, a senior consultant with IBM Gloal Business Services and an IIMC, Joka, passout, is the only Indian in the list of top 18 and could be one of the 'New Thinkers' carying the torch in Beijing.

Rajib could be flying to Shangri-La in Yunnan province to run the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch.

The final selection of the torchbearers is now in the public's hands. Visitors to www.Lenovo.com/torch and http://www.lenovo.

com/torch can help determine who will become one of the three potential torchbearer nominees.

Each of the finalists has submitted a 30-second video clip demonstrating the most imaginative and innovative way they would participate in the Olympic Torch Relay demonstrating what makes them a 'New Thinker.' Voting concludes at 10 am on October 24, 2007. The top three vote-getters will be announced mid-November and be nominated by Lenovo to participate as torchbearers in the historic China portion of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay.

Highlighting the global nature of the contest, the finalists are from eight countries including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and the United States. The finalists' profession range from teachers to filmmakers to a former Olympian.

''As a worldwide partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, we are very excited to bring torchbearer opportunities to the general public.

This is an innovative approach to torchbearer nomination,'' said Deepak Advani, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer of Lenovo.

Rajib told UNI, ''I am excited about the whole thing. Now its up to the people to vote me in.

''I have always worked for the children and have been a volunteer with the CRY, Rotract and then Initiave for Community Action (INCA).

Now working as a business consultant I get less time, but my heart still beats for them,'' he said.

The process for seletion has been two-prong. First the applicants had to write an essay and then send a video based on that. Rajib did both and was selected in the top 18.

The torch is planned to travel to 21 cities in five continents before spending 97 days traveling to more than 100 cities in Mainland China. It will arrive at its final destination in Beijing on August 8, 2008, marking the start of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Rajib wrote in his essay, ''I believe it is children who should be nurtured well to be torchbearers of any nation. India being a developing nation has a large number of children impoverished and uneducated. I believe that each one of the 'haves' should take care of at least one 'have not' child. Hence, I will look after 10 such infants and provide them with good nourishment and education. Thus I shall contribute to building a stronger India.'' UNI BA PL BJR HS1424

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