LONDON 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe has thrown his support behind an Irish bid to have the Olympic torch visit Dublin before next year’s Games.
Sebastian Coe said he would like to see the torch make a trip to the Republic during its tour of the North, and that such a visit would speak “eloquently and powerfully for sport”.
The Olympic Committee of Ireland has lobbied hard for the torch to visit Dublin, and even mapped out a provisional route. The trip would begin with a symbolic crossing of the border to mark 14 years of peace in Ireland, the OCI have said.
A spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that the OCI welcomed Coe’s support. “He’s been supportive from day one,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve worked very closely with him on this. He has very strong Irish connections and understands the importance of the visit with regard to the peace process.”
Yesterday, Coe told a House of Commons committee in London: “I have spent a lot of time on this both in Northern Ireland and in conversations with the Republic. I would like to see a small visit south of the border.”
He said “complex discussions” were under way but it was the “ambition” of the organising committee to arrange the visit.
Ireland will field a 32-county team in the Games, which will take place in London next summer. The final decision on whether to allow the torch visit the Republic will be taken at an International Olympic Committee meeting on December 9.
After the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it was decided that the torch should not travel outside the host nation prior to the Games.
- Additional reporting from AP