Katie holds a torch for honour of run with Olympic flame
Published 09/12/2011 | 05:00
OLYMPIC hopeful Katie Taylor revealed it would be a huge honour to be asked to carry the Olympic Torch on its historic visit to Ireland.
Organisers of next summer's London Olympic Games have confirmed the iconic flame will arrive in Dublin on the morning of June 6, with torchbearers carrying it through the city as part of the relay bringing it from Greece to London.
"It would be a huge honour to do it. We'll see if I get asked to do it first," the three-time world women's lightweight champion boxer quipped.
"But it's great that the torch is going through Dublin, it's like a home games anyway with it being in London," Ms Taylor added.
Speculation was mounting that boxers Michael Carruth from Dublin and Wayne McCullough from Belfast -- who both won medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics -- might be asked to take part in the cross-Border handover as the flame makes its way from Northern Ireland to the South.
The 70-day torch relay will culminate with the lighting of the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium on the opening day of the Olympic Games on July 27.
It will be carried on foot, by canal boat, cable car, tram, steam train and hot air balloon.
Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, revealed the torch would be brought across the Border to Dublin for the one-day event during the flame relay around Northern Ireland from June 3 to June 7.
Sports Minister Michael Ring said it would be a chance for Irish people to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world, with some teams having chosen Dublin as a training base before the games.
Gilbert Felli, executive director of the Olympic Games, said protests had marred the Beijing 2008 international leg of the relay, which meant it took longer to finalise the Dublin visit.
Ronnie Delany, left, who won gold in the 1500m in Melbourne in 1956, said planning for the torch relay route was at an early stage but he would be "extraordinarily honoured" if asked to take any part in the visit.
"It is an extraordinary achievement for Ireland to get the flame and the combined efforts of everyone involved.
"It is momentous; it almost makes the London Olympics a home Olympics. I am absolutely delighted," Mr Delany added.
"There is nothing else that arouses patriotism and emotions like the Olympic Games."
Just 12 track and field athletes, three road cyclists, three boxers and two swimmers have so far qualified to represent Ireland.
Ms Taylor (25) has repeatedly cautioned she has yet to qualify and her focus is still on the World Championship in China next May, where she hopes to nab one of the qualification spots for the Olympics.
"This is the biggest competition out there and I've always had the dream to win an Olympic gold medal," Ms Taylor added.
Her mother, Bridget, yesterday said she was delighted to learn the family of each competitor would be given two free tickets by sponsors Proctor & Gamble Ireland.
"We didn't apply. We don't want to take things for granted either," Bridget revealed. "Even though we are confident she will get there."