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Torchbearer with a heart of gold

(A shortened version of this article was published in the Trinidad Guardian on August 12, 2012. Also published by Caribbean Trakker magazine on August 13, 2012.)

Before a race was run or before any of our athletes even walked into the stadium, Trinidad and Tobago already had its first Olympic winner at London 2012.
Trinidadian Wendell Raphael was one of 8,000 inspirational people selected to carry the Olympic torch around Great Britain. He was also one of the extras in the Opening Ceremony, playing the part of a West Indian immigrant arriving in London on the HMS Windrush in the 1950s.
But by then, one might say, 40-year-old Raphael had already won gold. On April 1, with 20,000 people looking on at the Olympic Stadium, he proposed to his girlfriend Bindi Bhambra, a schoolteacher from Bristol. To loud cheers, she said yes, as her smiling face was beamed onto the massive stadium screens.

In short, after the Olympic Torch Nomination around July 2011 Raph of Captained a Living Donors Team doing the 2012km Gold Challenge for the With an individual effort of over 1100km carrying his Olympic Torch Training Hammer and created the Living Donors - 2012km Gold Challenge Facebook album to share the adventure.


  • Sunday 1st April - Olympic Stadium - Raph M1K & the Living Donors Team joined the Gold Challenge Events.
  • Sunday 22nd April - London Marathon - Raph M1K biggest single effort, 26.2 miles (42km) toward the 2012km Gold Challenge.
  • Sunday 22nd July at 14:55 - The Olympic Flame is passed from Gold Medallist Daichi Suzuki to Raph of and then to Emmy Award winner Brent "Bucky" Gunts. Video still available on BBC website from UK only.
  • Friday 27 July - Raph M1K was a 1960 Windrush Passenger in London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.
  • August 2012 - Raph of M1K was part of the Paralympic Games Technology Team at Heathrow Airport.

Click here for Facebook Photo Album

Life is such a funny thing. Since 2007 I've done events to celebrate my Kidney transplant anniversary and worked on jokes to tell my surgeon at my annual check up. Last year for my 3rd I told him 'my knees hurt a little after I ran London Marathon 2010 in under 5 hours'. This year in May I cruised 10k races wearing 3D glasses and slowed down for cameras and I told him 'I'm starting to believe I didn't actually get any super powers from the surgery' (because my times were 2 minutes slower).

Then I was interviewed to be a Games Maker and nominated to carry the London 2012 Olympic Torch by the ACLT, the Anthony Nolan Trust and supported by Kidney Research UK. Properly bitten by the Olympic bug i was put forward as Gold Challenge Champion for the ACLT and is now somehow Captain of a team called Living Donors doing 2012km Gold Challenge before the start of the Olympics. Suddenly the most serious joker in Southville Running Club is training harder and has done over 200km of 2012km on my own with a queue of my amazing friends joining in to help.
Come September and in this album, I change roles from Raph M1K to ACLT Super Donor Dan (Daniel De-Gale) for the 100 meters UK Mascot Charity Gold Challenge 2011. It must have been something to do with the mask and the cape because I made an almighty push for the finish and actually won a race for the first time in my life. While I'm usually just happy to participate, suddenly I was the centre of attention for something else other than being silly and words like 'winner' are being used with my name in a whole new context.
Soon enough, I'm back to the reality of getting ready for next weekend Bristol Half Marathon in home town of Southville Running Club. I'll be running with a co-worker helping out the 2012km Gold Challenge with half the club in the race and the other half cheering for good racing times.
With that said, what the charities I support really need, are real heroes. Willing to give more than just money/time and share their good health.
Next month I'll be doing my 8th blood donation at 'Daniel De-Gale Blood Donation Week' and will be looking out for a ballot entry to the London Marathon 2012. I'm thinking it would be appropriate to try and knock 40 minutes off my previous time during my 40th.
Get more from Life by Sharing the Gift of Life.



Raph M1K - WinkBall interview starting 1 year count down to

2012 Olympic Games at Trafalgar Sqare London.



The and Anthony Nolan Trust have nominated Raph of to be 1 of 8,000 for the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

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Raph M1K could be a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer. Thats big. Please click here and support on the Coca-Cola Future Flames' site.


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