18 May 2012

Brits geared up for Olympic Torch Relay


NEWS ARTICLE

By  Mark Hodgkinson

Photo: London 2012HRH The Princess Royal receives Olympic Torch in Athens

Andy Murray's appearances in the Wimbledon area this summer will mostly consist of him running across the grass of Centre Court, swinging a racket at The Championships and the Olympics.

But, in between the two tournaments on the lawns, he will be making another high-profile appearance when he jogs around the streets of Merton, in south-west London, with the Olympic flame instead of a racket.

Murray, who has always watched previous Olympic Torch Relays, said that he was honoured to have been chosen as one of the torch-bearers before the London Games. "It’s nice to have been asked," said Murray, who will be among the favourites for the singles gold medal at the All England Club.

"You always see it when you’re watching it on the TV, you always watch it. So it’ll be a nice thing to do. I am doing it somewhere around Wimbledon, in the Merton area, I am not sure of the exact route but it’s around there.

"It will be good. Every week I get asked about the Olympics more and more. It started, probably, in the middle of last year and now most weeks there are more and more questions about it. People are very excited."

Murray's appearance with the torch will come on 23 July. He is not the only British tennis player to have been asked to keep the Olympic flame from going out. Peter Norfolk, a wheelchair player, will be carrying the torch in Liverpool on 1 June, while Elena Baltacha will be running through St Peters in Kent on 19 July, and Oli Golding, who was chosen for his doubles victory in the Olympic Youth Games in 2010, will run with the flame in Richmond on 24 July.

Such is Baltacha's excitement about the Olympics that even the thought of taking part in the torch relay gives her goosebumps. "There is something about the Olympic torch that gives me goosebumps. It's because of what it represents and the fact that it signals London 2012 is almost here.

"I haven't yet qualified but it's a massive goal because competing at the Olympics means the world to me. My mum was a pentathlete and nearly went to the 1980 Moscow Olympics while my dad went with the Soviet Union football team and came away with the bronze medal. For any sportsperson, it's as big as it gets," said Britain's No. 1.

"When I got the email saying that I had been selected to carry the Torch, I was beside myself. I will be carrying it through St Peters in Kent at 11am on 19 July and I hope a few people come and give me a cheer. Andy Murray will be carrying it through Wimbledon a few days later (on 23 July) and I’m sure it’ll be a pretty special moment for him too. "



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