Paralympic torch joy for Sheffield

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TWO disabled athletes will be carrying the Paralympic torch to Sheffield ahead of the 2012 Games this summer.

The city is one of 34 locations on the Paralympic Torch relay to be held before the games begin.

The flame will be collected from London with a miner’s lantern and carried north for a celebration to coincide with the Sheffield Fayre event, to be held in Norfolk Park, on August 26.

Aaron McKibbin, GB’s number one paralympic table tennis player, and Kevin Hayes, of the GB wheelchair basketball team, will be taking the torch to Sheffield.

Aaron, who trains in Sheffield, said: “I am so proud that the Paralympic Torch will be coming to Sheffield.

“I live to play table tennis. It has been my life for many years now, so it’s great for me to see disability sport given this high profile in the city.

“I look forward to celebrating the Games coming to the UK with our very own Paralympic party here in Sheffield!”

The London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay will take place from August 24-29 this year.

Four separate flames will be lit in London, Greater Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff and will tour the country before they are united to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame at Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement.

The flame will then be carried on a 24-hour overnight relay to London and the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore said: “Disability sport is hugely important to Sheffield.

“It is great news for Sheffield that we’ll be hosting the Paralympic, as well as Olympic, torch in the lead-up to the games.

“We are home to many GB paralympians, including the whole table tennis squad.

“The Paralympic torch arriving in the city will be the ultimate celebration of Sheffield’s commitment to disability sport.”

Other Paralympic teams training in Sheffield ahead of the games are Slovakian Paralympic table tennis players and the Canada wheelchair basketball squad.