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Dizzee Rascal in Olympic torch hunt

Rapper Dizzee Rascal has launched a nationwide search to find deserving youngsters to help carry the Olympic Torch to the London 2012 Games.

The Mercury Music Prize winner, singer Eliza Doolittle and a team of London 2012 hopefuls were spearheading Coca-Cola's Future Flames campaign. It seeks to reward youngsters who help their neighbourhoods with a spot on the 8,000-mile torch relay.

"See the person, not the age," Dizzee Rascal said as he launched the nomination campaign at a concert in west London.

"I see young people judged all the time and there's negativity about them. But people should look at reality - many young people are making a positive difference, but no-one hears about it. We can change that by nominating the Future Flames we know."

Doolittle said: "The youth of the UK get such bad press, which I really don't think they deserve. We all need to recognise the huge amount of positive things teens are doing and what they give back to the community - everyone needs to nominate the Future Flames they know."

The Olympic Flame will arrive from Greece on a 70-day relay until the Games opening ceremony on July 27 2012, starting in Land's End, Cornwall.

London 2012 want half of the 8,000 torchbearers to be aged 12-24 years.

The Future Flames campaign will now hit the road on a summer tour to get regional nominations for young potential torchbearers. Nominations can be made online - at www.cokezone.co.uk - September 5 2011.

Commonwealth judo champion Tom Davis, 28, hoped the nominations would "encourage young people to be the best that they can be and celebrate their achievements."

He said: "I know what it's like to be passionate about something and to try to use that passion to improve other people's lives. The fact that so many young people are doing that but not getting any recognition for it - the opposite, in fact - is really worrying and something we have to sort out."

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