From Fanling to carrying Games' torch in London

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 May, 2012, 12:00am


A radio presenter born in Hong Kong will carry the Olympic torch through London in July as a representative of the young, Chinese and Filipino communities in Britain.

The half-Chinese, half-Filipino Steven Cheung, 22, is to be one of 8,000 torch-bearers to carry the flame on a 70-day journey through Britain.

His work with the government on youth and ethnic minority issues helped him beat out 29,000 other applicants. Three years ago, he ran for a seat on the European Parliament seeking to 'achieve true representation for the younger generation, older people, working families, and the many different cultures'.

'Representing the oriental community here is a privilege. The honour belongs to the community,' Cheung said.

Olympics organiser Locog, in its selection of torch-bearers, had looked to recognise and reward people with a story of personal achievement or contribution to local communities in Britain.

Cheung, a broadcaster for the multiethnic, London-based Spectrum Radio, grew up in Fanling and moved to Britain when he was 12.

The bullying and difficulties he faced as a newcomer and member of an ethnic minority were behind his involvement in government, he said.

'If you want to change a system, you have to do it from within. Get inside and do it yourself.'

Cheung has since advised politicians on youth issues at his local council and nationally as an adviser to former British prime minister Gordon Brown's Youth Citizen Commission.

He will carry the flame 300 metres for the Waltham Forest community, in northeast London, among 19 others from his community on July 21, the 64th day of the torch's journey.

Others selected include Rachel Nafzger, a blind university student nominated for her volunteer work; Jonathan Edwards, a triple-jump gold medallist at the 2000 Olympics; and 100-year-old Diana Gould.

The flame starts its journey in Greece next Thursday, lit from a fire created by the sun's rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, amid the ruins of the home of the Ancient Games. On May 18, after a short relay around Greece, it will make its way to Cornwall on board a gold-liveried plane. The torch will then travel almost 13,000 kilometres across the country, starting in Land's End at the western tip of England and going as far as the outer reaches of Scotland, all the while within a dozen or so kilometres of 95 per cent of the British population, 'spreading the message of peace, unity and friendship,' the organising committee says.

It will end its journey on July 27 at the opening ceremony.