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woensdag, mei 23, 2012

Wootton Bassett hails torchbearer

Ben FoxBen Fox earned a huge ovation from the crowd in Royal Wootton Bassett

Crowds lined the streets of Royal Wootton Bassett on day five of the Olympic torch relay.

In the town where local people formerly turned out to honour the UK's war dead, this time there was a celebratory mood as the flame passed through.

David Hemery, the Olympics 400m hurdles champion in Mexico in 1968, was first to carry the torch in the town.

But the biggest cheers were reserved for Ben Fox, 16, who has set his sights on competing at the 2016 Paralympics.

The young wheelchair basketball player had to swap hands several times while carrying the torch but bravely reached his allotted finishing point.

Later, in Swindon, footballer Didier Drogba was the star attraction.

The striker, who announced on Tuesday he is leaving Chelsea after scoring the winning penalty in their Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, took the flame as it passed through the town centre.

During the morning, fireworks were set off along Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge as the flame was carried across.

London 2012 Olympic torch relay

Torch relay graphic relay graphic

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The torch relay was running a few minutes late, having taken a wrong turn in fog at the start of the day.

Crowds gathered in the early morning mist to see the flame set off from Bristol's College Green at 05:50 BST before heading to visit Nailsea, Backwell and Flax Bourton.

But as it returned to Bristol via Nailsea the convoy took a wrong turn in Failand - delaying the relay by about 10 minutes, but London 2012 organisers Locog said the torchbearers were not affected.

By the time the relay reached Clifton Suspension Bridge, the clouds had cleared.

Streamers burst out of firework cannons along the famous landmark and Grade I listed structure, which was opened in 1864 and is considered to be the symbol of the city of Bristol.

Badminton gold medallist Rebecca Pantaney carried the flame half way over the River Avon before passing it to Thomas Baker.

Ms Pantaney won gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games as part of the ladies' team and now coaches all levels at the game, even taking Falkland Islands competitors to the Island Games.

Watch the streamers being fired from the Clifton Suspension Bridge

The total distance to be covered on Wednesday will be 140.5 miles and the last leg will see the Princess Royal's daughter, Zara Phillips, carry the torch while riding her horse Toytown onto Cheltenham Racecourse where she will light a ceremonial cauldron at the evening event.

Also carrying the torch on day five will be Suzanne Enghed, a less conventional but equally impressive athlete, may need to fight her instincts to put fires out when she takes over the torch.

An employee of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Ms Enghed was nominated for her outstanding performance at the World Firefighter Games and the World's Ultimate Firefighter during 2011.

The oldest torchbearer of the day is Mary Wixey, 91, a former games mistress who has been described as "a credit to athletics" and still enjoys running.

The flame will be carried through 22 communities including Chippenham, Marlborough, Wroughton, Cirencester and Stroud.

The evening line-up includes music from Labrinth, dance act Twist and Pulse, Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra and Cheltenham Youth Choir.

The 70-day relay around the UK finishes at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July.

A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame on its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on 27 July.

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Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18160608#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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