|© UNICEF Zambia/2012/Maseko|
|Ceasar Chola Thaimu, 15, stands with classmates at Chelstone High School in Lusaka, Zambia. Ceasar has been chosen as Zambia's lone youth torchbearer in the 2012 London Olympics.|
By Mark Maseko
LUSAKA, Zambia, 29 June 2012 – A Zambian child, through the UNICEF-supported International Inspiration programme, has been selected as one of the 8,000 torchbearers at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Ceasar Chola Thaimu, 15, was selected as Zambia’s lone torchbearer through a competitive selection process held among young athletes nationwide. Speaking in Lusaka on the eve of his departure, Ceasar could not hide his enthusiasm at being his country’s representative.
“This is a dream come true for me and my family. It feels great and will make me work harder in sports and in class,” he said amid the jubilation from his classmates, who were celebrating his accomplishment.
“In life there are great things which you can get if you believe in yourself and work hard. Sport has helped change my character. I am now patient and have learned to work with other people to achieve something.”
An accomplished athlete
The Olympic torch relay was devised during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and has since been held in Olympics host countries. The relay concludes at the opening ceremony when it lights the Olympic flame.
|© UNICEF Zambia/2012/Maseko|
|Ceasar Chola Thaimu, 15, is Zambia's youth representative in the Olympics torch relay across the United Kingdom.|
Ceasar, the youngest of six children in his family, started playing football when he was 7 years old and went on to join his community’s soccer team, Kaunda Square, which is run by the local NGO Sport In Action with support from UNICEF Zambia.
After proving to be a good player, he was appointed coach for the under-10 team, a position he still holds. Ceasar has a two-pronged ambition of becoming an accountant and also earning a place on the senior Zambia national soccer team, the famous Chipolopolo Boys.
“We are very happy for Ceasar. As schools, we need to feed the national [soccer] team. We need to promote children to higher levels so that they not only represent the county but also earn a living through sport,” said Patrick Mulenga, Ceasar’s sport teacher.
Frank Mushindo, Executive Director of Sport In Action, is serving as Ceasar’s chaperone during the trip, which will include school visits in London and Nottingham.
Sport for change
“As Sport In Action, we are very happy to be involved in the International Inspiration programme, through which we partnered with UNICEF to provide life skills to over 3,000 Zambian children since 2009. We work with both in-school and out-of-school young people on various issues including HIV prevention and drug abuse,” said Mr. Mushindo.
Youth from 20 countries who are involved in the International Inspiration programme will be running as Olympic torchbearers.
UNICEF partnered with the British Council to mobilize the nominations in Zambia through local International Inspiration implementers Sport In Action, EDUSPORT and SCORE.
International Inspiration was founded by UK Sport, UNICEF, UNICEF United Kingdom, the British Council and other partners to provide a global social legacy for the London 2012 Olympics.
“International Inspirations has helped transform the lives of millions of children in schools and communities across the world, particularly in developing countries, through the power of sport, and UNICEF is proud to have partnered with them,” said UNICEF Representative in Zambia Iyorlumun Uhaa.