posted on 16/05/2012: 876 views
He has been measured for his suit and the date set for Abdulla Al Gurg to carry the Olympic flame through the streets of London in advance of the summer Games.
Mr Al Gurg, an Emirati who lives in Dubai, will be one of 800 people to carry the torch through more than 1,000 cities, towns and villages in the UK.
The torch was lit in Olympia, Greece, last Thursday and will arrive in the UK on Friday, where it will begin its 70-day journey.
Mr Al Gurg, 30, will carry the flame only 450 metres, but said he will savour every moment of it.
"I am going to walk very slowly and make sure everyone in the UK can take plenty of pictures of me and send them back to Dubai," he said, laughing.
Officials have already put in the order for his special white uniform, which he will wear for his run on July 26, the day before the Games open.
"It will be an honour to be one of the few," Mr Al Gurg said. "I really appreciate the gesture and hope I can reciprocate it as a torch-bearer. I am sure some Emiratis have their reasons to be nominated from a sporting point of view.
"My cause is from charity and we can showcase that more, especially for NGO charity organisations."
Mr Al Gurg is the general manager of Easa Saleh Al Gurg (Esag) Group, the family business. He was chosen as a torch-bearer because of his contributions to the community. His sponsor is Lloyds TSB in London, one of the three companies supporting the torch relay.
Mr Al Gurg also sits on the board of the Esag Charity Foundation, which was set up after a decree by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
The foundation, which does not accept donations, gives to educational and health care charities in the UAE and Africa.
It gave to more than 10,000 causes last year, including financial assistance to more than 5,000 individuals, and also aided more than 500 medical cases and donated educational aid to 1,000 schools and universities.
The foundation has helped support the building of six mosques in and outside the UAE.
Since 2010, it has donated US$9million (Dh33m) to various causes across the world.
The charity owns a number of tower blocks in Sharjah and Dubai and more than 30 villas in Jumeirah. The profits taken from rent goes into a fund, which is then donated.
"It supports education, health care and social well-being of certain cases," Mr Al Gurg said.
Underprivileged students who do not have access to education are also supported. "I hope to make a point of exposing all the good work charities do and be an advocate of charity work. We rarely celebrate the good work done and success. We always look at the sorrows of the unfortunate in society," he said.
"We also have to appreciate a lot of the work the foundations are doing."
A representative of Lloyds TSB flew to Dubai to tell Mr Al Gurg he was had been put forward to go through the process.
"I didn't know what it meant in the beginning and obviously I made myself aware of it and it looks like a big thing," he said. "It took a while for it to sink in and it seems like an interesting thing to do and to be in London for the Olympics is a rare opportunity."
As his part of the relay will be during Ramadan, Mr Al Gurg will be fasting, and his family will not be in the UK to cheer him on.
"I think it's too crowded for them, and as it will be Ramadan they will be with their family," he said. He was not sure if he would go to any of the events. He said he wanted to fly back and be with his three children.
Eight thousand people have been chosen to carry the torch on the basis of their contributions to their communities.
Mr Al Gurg will receive a replica of the torch to bring home with him and plans to put it in his office next to his other prized possession, a set of Tiger Woods's golf clubs. – The National
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