Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Belfast to light the flame of London 2012 Paralympics with torch relay

London 2012 Olympics mascot Wenlock (right) and Paralympic mascot Mandeville
Oscar Pistorius, right, is followed by Christoph Bausch of Switzerland as they compete in the Men's 100m T44 during the Beijing Paralympic Games

The Paralympic flame will be lit in Belfast four days before the opening ceremony of the London Games at the end of August.

Four separate flames will be lit in the run-up to the start of the Games before coming together in a special ceremony at Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympics, on August 28.

Torchbearers will carry the flame to the Olympic Stadium the following day.

More than 3,500 people have been nominated to carry the Paralympic flame, a total which will be whittled down to 580 who will work in teams of five.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: “With six months to go we are on track to deliver a great Games that will showcase some of the most inspirational athletes from around the world.

“The Paralympic torch relay will provide the perfect start by involving people from across the UK in events celebrating the flame and help the ignite passion for the Paralympics.”

The first flame will be lit in London on August 24, followed by lightings in Belfast on August 25, Edinburgh the following day and Cardiff on August 27.

All four flames will then go on whirlwind tours of community groups in each city before being combined into a single Paralympic flame at Stoke Mandeville.

International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven said: “I am delighted with the plans for the Paralympic torch relay as Locog (the London 2012 organisers) and the IPC have worked closely to develop a concept that will not only capture the attention of the whole country, but also act as a blueprint for organising committees of future Games.

“I think it is brilliant that the actual Paralympic flame, that will be used to light the cauldron in the opening ceremony on August 29, will be created at Stoke Mandeville, a place steeped in Paralympic history.

“The Games are coming home and it is only right that we celebrate the significance of Stoke Mandeville, the Paralympic movement's birthplace.”

Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, an 11-time Paralympic athletics champion, added: “The unveiling of the Paralympic torch is an important part of the London 2012 Paralympic torch relay, as it will become the symbol that everyone recognises.”

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