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Kay is cycling for a better world

August 25, 2008

BC Local News (Canada)
August 23, 2008 9:49 PM

David Kay, former Team Canada rower, has been riding across the
country during the Olympics in a Race for Rights.

He wants to raise awareness for thousands of people who have been
stripped of personal freedom in China.

"The reason I decided to do this was because of the lack of vocal
support for human rights from athletes going to the games," said Kay.

Starting from St. John's, Newfoundland, on July 13, Kay is peddling
into Victoria just in time for the closing Olympic ceremonies today.

As he rode into Vernon Wednesday, Kay told a group gathered at Polson
Park he thinks the Olympics in Beijing can be a potential catalyst
for future reform and changing human rights.

Kay said China had promised to improve their human rights in 2001
when they agreed to be the Olympic hosts. Now seven years later Kay
said there is still a long way to go.

"I know the majority of Canadians are concerned about human rights,"
said Kay. "If we don't take advantage of the world watching China it
will be a missed opportunity."

Kay said his mind was solidified on action after hearing the Dalai
Lama speak in Ontario last year. He decided he would do whatever he
could to bring light to the issue.

On every leg of the trip Kay has highlighted another victim of human
rights abuse.

As he reaches 7,000 kilometres, Kay hopes to share the story of
Panchen Lama, who has spent 13 years, since he was six years old,
under house arrest with his whereabouts unknown. The Panchen Lama is
the second most important figure in Tibetan culture, right under the
Dalai Lama.

Two people very proud of Kay's conviction are his Vernon relatives,
Bob and Shirley Vedan. They were able to greet him when he arrived in
Polson Park.

"It is wonderful to see someone committed to doing something," said
his second cousin Shirley Vedan. "And I think he really enjoys
meeting people. He said his ride has been beautiful."

Travelling lightly and with no support team, Kay said he camped by
the roadside or has been lucky to know people along the way. He has
met with people all across Canada to share stories, including those
directly from Tibet.

Two Tibetans who have found their homes in the Okanagan are Ladoe and
Kalsang, who would like their last names withheld for safety reasons.
They were able to personally thank Kay for his protest.

Ladoe thinks Kay's ride is important during the Olympics because
everyone is watching. He respects Kay because he is riding for
humanity, not just a piece of land or a flag.

"The Olympics are about good relationships between races," said
Ladoe. "It's hard because China is such a powerful country. I hope
freedom comes for everyone, not just Tibet, but also the Chinese."

Kalsang said Olympic organizers are not doing enough.

"I think this is the right time to (protest)," said Kalsang. "People
are paying attention, so it is the right time to get the message out."
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