Bollywood star Akshay Kumar’s stint as a torch bearer for the 2010 Winter Olympics was cut short by protests even as his fans lined the streets here to catch a glimpse of their idol.
The 42-year-old actor helped carry the Olympic flame into Toronto but could not finish his 300-metre run as protesters blocked the street to highlight the treatment of Native Indians by the Canadian government.
The protests caused a one-hour-delay and the officials had to divert the route. Hundreds of policemen intervened to remove the agitators who kept shouting slogans of ‘No Olympics’,against the holding of the sports extravaganza on lands taken away from the original natives of Canada.
Akshay was one of the 14 torchbearers for the Winter Olympics which will be held in Vancouver between Feb 12-28 and his involvement was announced by the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his two-day India visit.
Earlier in a press conference here,the actor had said that he was honoured to have been chosen as a torch bearer,adding that Canada was like a “second home to him”.
“I’m here because I love sports,” he explained of his involvement,adding that he plans to be in Vancouver for the games and is hoping to be able to get some tickets to a hockey game or two.
Hockey is a sport that will be featured in a movie he’ll be making here next year.
Kumar said he’s made seven or eight films in Toronto and Vancouver and he considers Canada his second home.
He is also active in the community and has helped raise money for hospitals in both cities.
“I just love Canada,” Kumar said. “The people are so warm even though the weather is so cold.”