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Jaspal Rana pulls out of torch relay

The troubled Olympic torch relay run suffered more jolts with ace shooter Rana and musician Ayaan Ali Bangash pulling out citing personal reasons.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 17, 2008 05:15 PM IST

The troubled Olympic torch relay run in the capital on Thursday suffered more jolts with ace shooter Jaspal Rana and musician Ayaan Ali Bangash pulling out barely a few hours before the event, citing personal reasons.

The two of them were part of the official list of 70 torch-bearers announced by the Indian Olympic Association.

Ayaan, who was among the six runners named by Samsumg, one of the sponsors of the event, was present at a pre-event promotional programme on Wednesday and had said he was looking forward to being part of the relay.

A top Indian Olympic Association official confirmed that Rana was not taking part in the relay but said he was not aware of the exact reason for the shooter's last minute pull-out.

The two fresh withdrawals came a day after Sachin Tendulkar pulled out of the event which has forced the organisers to ensure unprecedented security arrangements, fearing disruptions from Tibetan protestors.

The master batsman had been advised by his IPL team physio A Ijaz not to take part in the run in view of his groin injury.

Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi and Secretary General Randhir Singh, both of whom are taking part in the relay, could not be reached for comments.

National football captain Baichung Bhutia and India's first IPS officer Kiran Bedi had earlier pulled out of the event.

While Bhutia decided to skip the event in support of the Tibetan cause, Bedi had cited "scuffing" security arrangement for her move.

Bollywood actor Soha Ali Khan was also among those who has withdrawn from the torch relay saying she has prior engagements.

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