Dublin included on London 2012 torch route
LAUSANNE, Switzerland |
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Dublin will be on the torch relay route for next year's London Olympics with the Irish capital hosting the flame on June 6, the International Olympic Committee IOC.L and organisers LOCOG said on Thursday.
"It's going to be a one-day event," Gilbert Felli, Executive Director of the Olympic Games, told reporters.
"It is why it took a bit of time (to finalise). We always pop into the neighbouring countries. Knowing the sensibility of the issue here we wanted to make sure the government was in the loop," Felli said.
"We needed to wait for the approval from the Irish national Olympic committee and the Irish government for the route which we got a few days ago."
Felli said protests that marred the Beijing 2008 international leg of the torch relay meant it took a bit longer to finalise the Dublin torch visit.
"Regarding the Beijing relay and what happened then that is why it has been taking a bit of time," Felli said.
Organisers LOCOG said the flame would arrive in Dublin on June 6 and be carried through the city before a mid-morning celebration at a central location.
"I am delighted that the Olympic Flame will travel across the border into the Republic next year," said Irish Sports and Tourism Minister Michael Ring in a statement.
"This historic occasion recognises the friendship, peace and cooperation that now exists on the island of Ireland and demonstrates the unifying power of sport.
"A number of international teams have already chosen Dublin as a training base before the London Games.
"The visit of the Olympic Flame next year will be a wonderful opportunity for the whole of Ireland to be even more closely involved with the 2012 London Olympic Games and for Irish people to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world," added Ring.
The 70-day torch relay will travel 12,800 km around Britain, taking in 1,018 villages and the 1,085-metre summit of Snowdon, before culminating with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron in the Olympic Stadium on the opening day of the Games on July 27.
The relay will also take in landmarks around Britain with the flame travelling by canal boat, cable car, tram, steam train, hot air balloon and even motorcycle sidecar on the Isle of Man TT course.
More than 95 percent of the population will be within an hour of the route.
London has chosen a lower-profile relay than the protest-marred international route to Beijing in 2008, which included the problematic ascent of Everest.
Organisers made the first conditional offers on Thursday to some of the 8,000 torch bearers who will take part in the relay.
(Additional reporting by Alan Baldwin in London)
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