Golden Tom backs Wrexham torch campaign

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

WREXHAM’S own Olympic hero is backing the campaign to have the London 2012 torch stop off in the town.

The torch is currently scheduled to be carried through Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth and Bangor before heading back into England at Chester next May.

But the provisional route misses out Wrexham, which is the largest town in North Wales.

Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths recently wrote to Olympic supremo Lord Coe asking him to consider routing the torch through this area. And her call has now been backed by Tom James,  a member of the victorious men’s rowing coxless four that won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.

He said: “I am very proud I come from the Wrexham area and proud to be an Olympic gold medallist.

“I am therefore delighted to be able to support the campaign to bring the Olympic torch to Wrexham as it makes its way to the London 2012 Games.

“We have a proud Olympic tradition in Wrexham – let’s not forget that I am not the first person from this area to win Olympic gold.

“That honour goes to Ken Matthews who won gold in 1964 in the 20K race walk in Tokyo.

“Wrexham is the capital of North Wales and we are putting in a bid for city status so it would be a crying shame if we missed this glorious opportunity to benefit from some Olympic stardust.”

He added: “We are confident in the merit of our case and I am urging the Olympic organisers to see the sense of bringing the Olympic torch to our great town.

“In practical terms, it will be very easy to do because it will be travelling between overnight stopovers in Bangor and Chester.”

Lesley Griffiths said: “The campaign is attracting a huge amount of support from the people of Wrexham and it’s fantastic news that our very own Olympic hero, Tom James, is wholeheartedly behind us.

“I believe the case to bring the Olympic torch is a compelling one and I hope the powers that be respond accordingly.”

Tom has now regained his fitness after an operation last year.

Since May he has been in Britain’s coxless four team which recently won the Henley Royal Regatta against some tough opposition.

Next they will compete in the world championships in Slovenia.

A spokesman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games said: “At this stage we have only announced the evening celebration sites and island visits, details of the full route have not yet been announced.

“Later this year we will be making a further announcement to identify other cities, towns, villages and places of outstanding natural beauty, sports venues and community hubs the Olympic Torch Relay will take on its journey.”

See full story in the Leader

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