Beckham bends it for Indian girl at Olympic closing


London : A little Indian-origin girl who starred in the spectacular Olympic closing ceremony in Beijing said she was more excited about meeting footballer David Beckham than appearing in front of 90,000 people.

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Tayyiba Dudhwala, 10, won the heart of the world Sunday when she hopped off a red London bus to kick off an eight-minute show put up by organisers of the 2012 London Olympics.

Standing in the centre of the packed 90,000-seater Bird’s Nest stadium, Dudhwala – showcasing the plurality and multicultural identity of London – did not seem a bit overawed.

The closing ceremony was seen by an estimated 1.5 billion people across the world.

Tiny Dudhwala, a football fan from east London, was the first person to appear from the double decker bus as it drove into the stadium. She then had to catch a ball and run over the backs of a line of crouching dancers.

Later she stood beside singer-songwriter Leona Lewis, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and former England captain Beckham as her hero dropkicked a ball into the audience.

Tayyiba, who won a BBC television competition to take part in the handover ceremony, was described by the deputy head teacher of her school as “football crazy”.

“We were really proud of her – it’s amazing what she has achieved. She is an incredibly bright pupil. The school made a really big deal of her achievement. She will be representing the British people in Beijing,” she said.

Tayyiba’s cousin, Zakir Dudhwala, said she returned home from school one day to find a BBC TV crew waiting to give her the good news.

“They gave her such a shock. She had been hoping she would win but I don’t think she could believe it when she actually did.

“She is definitely excited about it. She was really looking forward to going and it was quite emotional for her,” he said.

When Tayyiba entered the competition she had to write a postcard explaining why she was excited about the Olympic or Paralympic Games. “She wrote that different people from all over the world come together at the Olympics and she thought that was special,” Zakir Dudhwala said.