THE father of the late boxer Darren Sutherland has said he hopes his son is "looking down on us and smiling" as he takes part in next month's Olympic torch relay.
Tony Sutherland was asked by the Olympic Council of Ireland to represent the champion boxer who won bronze in Beijing at the relay in Dublin.
Speaking to the Irish Independent from his home in Navan, Co Meath, last night, Mr Sutherland said: "I'm delighted. It's a small price to pay for the young fella . . . for all he has done for us as a family.
"I just hope he's up there and looking down on us and smiling."
Mr Sutherland said he hopes he will be able to wear Darren's bronze medal during the relay.
"The Olympics were one of Darren's goals he set himself and he achieved that. The Olympics was something he was always interested in," he said.
The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) yesterday named 34 sporting icons and members of the public who will carry the torch on its six-hour whirlwind tour of the capital.
Among them are legendary figures such as Paul McGrath, Ronnie Delany, Sonia O'Sullivan and Henry Shefflin, as well as some unusual additions such as pop star twins Jedward.
The youngest bearers are 15-year-old students Cillian Kirwin, an accomplished sportsman from St Fintan's high school in Sutton, Dublin, and Ger Keelan, from Co Westmeath, who was 10 years old when he saved his father's life following a farm accident.
Mr Delany (77), who won a gold medal for Ireland in the 1,500m in the 1956 Melbourne games, will be the oldest member of the Olympic relay.
The identities of the seven remaining torch bearers will be revealed in the coming weeks and will include household names and inspiring citizens.
The torch relay takes place on June 6 and begins at the Border outside Newry when boxer Wayne McCullough will hand over the torch to fellow boxer Michael Carruth.
From there the flame -- which was lit at the Temple of Hera at Olympia in Greece on May 10 -- will be transported to Dublin via car in a miner's lantern.
Each of the torch bearers in Dublin will transfer the flame, lit from the lantern. The bearers then get to keep their torch as a souvenir.