Athletes’ Burning desire to carry Olympic flame

Jamie Carter
Jamie Carter
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TWO top athletes from our area are in the running to carry the 2012 Olympic torch.

Lara Thomas, 20, and Jamie Carter, 16, have beaten thousands of people to make it on to the shortlist of potential torchbearers for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The pair are among 50 inspirational people from Lincolnshire hoping to carry the torch when it comes to the county in June next year.

Middle-distance runner Lara from Owmby-by-Spital just missed out on a place to compete in the Games and was thrilled to hear she might still be part of the Olympics.

She said: “I would love to be part of the 2012 Olympics. I’m really happy I’ve made it to the shortlist – if I get the chance to carry the torch it would be an amazing experience, a once in a lifetime thing.

“I didn’t even know I’d been nominated until I received a phone call the other day – I’m really excited.”

Physiotherapy student Lara – who was nominated by the Lincolnshire Elite Athlete Programme (LEAP) - says one of her greatest achievements is coming third in this year’s British University steeplechase.

She said: “I’ve been involved in athletics since I was nine-years-old and absolutely love it.”

Binbrook’s Jamie Carter, a 100m, 200m and 400m wheelchair athlete who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 16 months old, has raised the profile of disability sport.

The teenager launched an appeal to raise £5,000 to buy his own custom-made racing wheelchair after being fast-tracked to UK Athletics – the organisation that manages Olympic and Paralympic sport. He has even done a tandem skydive to boost his fundraising.

Jamie, who has just received international classification to race abroad, is pleased to be selected but is trying not to get his hopes up.

He said: “I would love to be selected to take part, but I know I am up against lots of other worthy contenders. It would be a real honour if I was chosen though.”

The Olympic torch will come to Lincoln overnight on Wednesday, June 27 2012. The full torch relay route – to take place ahead of the Games - will be announced in November.

A judging panel will select the most inspiring people to take part and Lara and Jamie will find out if they have been successful at the start of December.