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Rediff.com  » Sports » London torch relay to start where the land ends

London torch relay to start where the land ends

May 18, 2011 17:42 IST

The rugged Cornish coast will be the first part of Britain to host the London 2012 Olympics torch next year after organisers named Land's End as the starting point of an 8,000 mile journey around the United Kingdom.

Announcing the route of the torch relay on Wednesday, London's organising committee (LOCOG) said the flame would arrive from Greece on May 18 before starting its 70-day trek at the windswept landmark on the south western tip of England.

The flame will be carried by 8,000 torchbearers, taking in the outer reaches of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, before reaching its final destination at the Olympic Stadium in east London for the opening ceremony on July 27.

"The Olympic Flame will shine a light right across every nation and region of the UK and showcase the very best of who we are and where we live," LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe said as the first 74 locations for the route were disclosed.

"The first locations on the route confirmed today give a flavour of the reach the Olympic Torch Relay will have around the UK and how extensive the opportunity for starting to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games will be."

London has chosen a lower profile torch relay after the ambitious and expensive international route for the Beijing Olympics, including one problematic ascent of Mount Everest, sparked protests and criticism, including in London.

After China's experiences, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced a ban on international torch relays, starting officially for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, although London organisers have long said its relay would stay within the UK.

However, plans are being discussed for a brief visit to the Irish capital Dublin.

During its route, the flame will stop off in the Shetland Islands, the Channel Islands and England's Lake District with organisers claiming 95 percent of the UK population will be within an hour of the route.

Many of Britain's famous sporting locations such as Wimbledon and St Andrews will also be visited.

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