Saif Ali Khan, Soha to be Lenovo’s Olympic torchbearers

MUMBAI: Lenovo announced the names of its torchbearers who will run for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay New Delhi on 17 April. The torchbearers are Saif Ali Khan, Soha Ali Khan, both actors as well as Lenovo brand ambassadors, tennis player Leander Paes, top corporate executives Subramanian Ramadorai and Jaishankar Krishnan, and orthopaedic surgeon Vaibhav Bagaria.

All six torchbearers have been selected based on the extraordinary results they have achieved in a particular field. In keeping with Lenovo’s Olympic ideals, namely new thinker, explorer, or a bridge builder, each torchbearer was nominated based on certain criteria they met. All six torchbearers have demonstrated innovation in their respective fields and have built bridges across geographic, ethnic, demographic differences, keeping in line with the Olympic Games and Lenovo’s spirit of multicultural, collaborative and competitive.

"As a worldwide partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, we are very excited to bring torchbearer opportunities to new thinkers around the world," said Lenovo India managing director Amar Babu. "We see the Olympic Torch Relay as a significant opportunity to further introduce and showcase the Lenovo brand to the world… As a worldwide partner of the Olympic Torch Relay and TOP sponsor of Beijing Olympic Games, Lenovo is celebrating the power of the Olympics by honoring these individuals who embody the Olympic Spirit and motivate their peers and communities. We plan to honor them globally."

For the first time in India, a layman, Dr. Bagaria has been given an opportunity to run the Olympic torch relay in New Delhi. The Nagpur-based orthopedic surgeon was nominated as India’s most innovative thinker in a torchbearer search program conducted in October 2007. Out of the 400 nominations Lenovo received, Dr. Bagaria was adjudged the winner, based on his admirable work and selfless attitude towards life.

Ramadorai was selected as the torchbearer for his global leadership and vision in software services. Ramadorai, who has spent 35 years in the software and services field, also is the recipient of the UK Trade and Investment Special Recognition Award by Prime Minister Tony Blair in September 2005 for TCS’ exemplary contribution to India – UK economic ties. Lenovo recognizes his contribution towards putting India on the global map.

One of the most prolific minds in India’s service sector, Jaishankar Krishnan’s exemplary contribution in improving fundamental IT distribution services has made him Lenovo’s choice of an Olympic torchbearer. Krishnan continues to drive a sector that is powered by changes in technology and supply chains. He is a keen sports enthusiast and an ardent fan of track and field events.

Soha Ali Khan, Bollywood actress and Lenovo’s brand ambassador has been selected for her significant contribution to Indian cinema. An Oxford University graduate in International Relations, Soha represents the modern Indian woman of the 21st century.

Paes brings an ideal dimension to the torchbearers selected by Lenovo with his tennis achievements. Appearing in his fifth Olympic Games, he has seven Grand Slam victories and several memorable Davis Cup performances to his name. While in India, he supports an orphanage in Kolkata and is planning a program to encourage sportsmanship among the Indian middle class.

Saif Ali Khan, Lenovo’s brand ambassador and a reputed Bollywood actor, was selected for his versatility and iconic contribution to Indian cinema. In the past two decades, Saif has won several accolades such as the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award and the coveted National Film Award for Best Actor for Parineeta. Saif devotes substantial time to social causes, and has, in the past contributed to the ‘HELP!’ concert to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.