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Above: Legendary Olympian and field-hockey Centre Forward Balbir Singh (Sr.), a triple gold medallist, and India’s winning Captain in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.


Sikh Athletes, Spectators Wearing Kirpans Welcomed to London 2012 Olympics




Sikh athletes and spectators will be allowed to Kirpans into London Olympic venues next year, despite the intense security arrangements, as part of a multi-faith approach to the Games.

"We want to make sure the Games are accessible to everyone," a spokesperson for organisers LOCOG said on Monday.

"The policy has been set by the LOCOG security team, who have liaised with wider stakeholders, and is part of our multi-faith approach.

"The Kirpan will be presented at security, but it will not be unsheathed. Wearing the Kirpan alongside the other articles of faith is both an everyday occurrence for Sikhs and an important part of observing their faith."

Organisers said the Kirpan would have to be worn beneath clothing and Sikhs carrying it would also have to demonstrate the four other articles of their faith that they must wear at all times.

Britain boasts one of the largest Sikh communities outside of India with nutheir numbers estimated around 1 million and more.

Organisers have recruited 193 chaplains, representing nine faiths, to assist some 17,000 athletes and officials attending the Games as well as up to 200,000 staff and volunteers and 20,000 media.

The International Olympic Committee requests facilities for five faiths - Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists - but London 2012 organisers have added Sikh, Zoroastrian, Jain and Baha'i to the list.

The Olympics, starting on July 27 next year, represent the biggest security challenge since World War II for a country that remains on high alert for a terrorist attack.

Defence Minister Philip Hammond said this month that all necessary measures would be taken, including possibly the use of surface to air missiles, to defend against an airborne attack.


[Reporting by Alan Baldwin.


[Courtesy: Reuters]

November 23, 2911

Conversation about this article

1: Karam Singh (Vermont, U.S.A.), November 23, 2011, 8:13 AM.

If there is a will, there is a way! In India, where there is no will to look beyond the primitivity of hindutva, all we have is ignorance, corruption, discrimination and anarchy.

2: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), November 23, 2011, 1:05 PM.

Respect the kirpan and the 5K'S with your heart and soul, and the world will join you.

3: B. Singh (Canada), November 23, 2011, 3:47 PM.

This is definitely great news and a step in the right direction towards a more tolerant society. Perhaps the French could take a lesson?

4: Sahib Singh (Fremont, California, U.S.A.), November 23, 2011, 8:35 PM.

I am glad that the British government has taken into account the importance of the 5K's to the Sikh faith.

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