A shining light bears the torch | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 06, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:22 PM, August 06, 2016

A shining light bears the torch

As television actors and actresses, celebrity chefs and even a Brazilian supermodel relayed the Olympic torch across Brazil, Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus's emergence to bear the ancient symbol of the Games was an unusual, yet welcome, sight.

On Thursday, the torch made its journey to the western and northern edges of Rio de Janeiro before visiting the glamorous beach neighbourhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema. The relay started at the athletes' village as athletes from every continent ran with the torch.

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First to carry the torch was local surf legend Rico de Souza and football legends Cafu, Carlos Alberto Parreira and Mário Zagallo also had their turns as did British cyclist Chris Hoy and Ukrainian pole-vaulting icon Sergey Bubka.

Professor Yunus, often seen dressed in traditional garbs, opted for a fresh look as he donned an Olympic tracksuit as the beats of Brazil rocked the backdrop. In the type of location he has worked to elevate throughout his life, the pioneer of micro-finance was passed the torch at Campo Grande, one of Rio's underprivileged suburbs, where he walked for about 200 metres.

Yunus also reinforced his global message during his walk, holding up three fingers to signify the three zeroes he has urged everyone to work towards: zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions.

In the evening he was invited as a guest of honour at a dinner hosted by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach -- who had chosen Yunus to join the mission of spreading the spirit of the Rio Games -- which was attended by 450 leaders of the sports world and distinguished guests. 

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