A torch trip to remember

Mohammed Janief (right) with Senator Larry Campbell. - Contributed photo
Mohammed Janief (right) with Senator Larry Campbell.
— image credit: Contributed photo

On Dec, 17, 2009, New Westminster resident Mohammed Janief received the exciting news, via an email from the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Team.

He’d been selected as a torch bearer for Dawson Creek, B.C. in January.

“That was the best news or gift I could have asked for Christmas,” said Janief, who has worked in northern B.C.

The 2010 Torch Relay, sponsored by Coca Cola and Royal Bank of Canada, includes 12,000 torch bearers covering the distance of 45,000 km and going through about 1,030 communities. Janief said he was selected through the RBC program, which was interested in selecting people who were involved in communities, and local sports. He has coached for Royal City Youth Soccer, and has also been a referee.

Janief, accompanied by his wife and sons Zafar and Zacharias, flew to Dawson Creek for his Jan. 29 run.

There he met the other 11 torch bearers at the Encana Events Centre on Jan. 31 at about 9:30 a.m., where he received the Olympic torch, his uniform, and was tutored in some of the basics such as:

• how to carry the torch

• how to exchange the flames once torch bearer had finished their part of the relay

• simple etiquette such as smiling, waving to crowds, etc.

Before the Official Torch came to Dawson Creek, Janief met Premier Gordon Campbell and Senator Larry Campbell.

Janief was the first torch bearer that day.

“I felt like a superstar,” he said. “Like a team captain in a very important soccer match going for a coin toss.”

Janief describes the rest:

“The Ninja (Vanoc team calls him Ninja as he is dressed in all black), came running to me, shook hands, opened the fuel mechanism to ensure the torch was in working order. A RCMP car drove and stopped near me, gave a nodding signal (things were ready). I shook hands with the officer and the driver and a high school girl came running towards me with a torch. This high school was not on the official list, but since the torch was not passing through their community, they had driven six hours to come to Dawson Creek in order to participate.

Both of us held our torch at an angle forming a “V” and my torch burst in flames, we hugged each other and I began my journey.

My journey began and I carried the Torch high in my right hand, there was a media crew ahead of me, filming the relay. After a while I changed to the left hand and finally to the right hand at the finishing touch. Too bad my segment came to an end; I wanted to go on for another half an hour.

There was lots of buzz and energy surrounding this event, I felt full of life and it was an amazing and a very powerful experience that I will never forget.”

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