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Olympic torch will head to Sheffield on relay tour

SHEFFIELD will play host to the Olympic torch on its 70-day relay tour of the UK next year, ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe holding an Olympic Torch London's Southbank.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe holding an Olympic Torch London's Southbank.

The steel city is among five Yorkshire and Humber stops on the staggering 8,000-mile route.

The torch will arrive in Sheffield on June 25 on its journey from Land’s End in Cornwall to the Olympic stadium, where it will arrive for the opening ceremony on July 27.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games say the flame will come within a one-hour journey of 95 per cent of the UK’s population.

A search has been launched for 8,000 torchbearers to carry the Olympic flame around the country, with half of the places expected to go to people aged 12 to 24, who are considered to be leading lights in their local communities.

Carys Hall is a Sheffield nominee. The 18-year-old from Gleadless has been running since she was eight and dreams of one day following in the footsteps of local legend Jess Ennis to compete in the Olympics.

She said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m so excited that I might actually have the honour of taking part in the Games in this way.

“To be involved in the 2012 games like this and actually hold that torch would be a dream come true.”

Sheffield is no stranger to the Olympics. Among the city’s famous sons and daughters of sport are the London 2012 chairman and twice Olympic 1500m champion Lord Coe and world champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis, who is going for gold in 2012.

Sebastian Coe said: ‘The Olympic flame will shine a light right across Yorkshire and Humber and everything we have to offer here. I hope people start to think about rewarding someone truly inspirational with their own moment to shine by nominating them to carry the Olympic flame.”

Council leader Julie Dore said: “Sheffield is a great sporting city and we’re planning a great torch r elay event for the people of Sheffield and Yorkshire to be part of.

“The council wants to see the city gets all the benefits it can in the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games and having the Olympic torch here in Sheffield is very exciting.”

The torch will be in the region for six days, although details of its route are being kept a closely guarded secret.

Go to www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay to nominate a torch-bearer. The deadline is 11.59pm on Wednesday, June 29.