2024 Paralympic Games torch to be ignited in England

2024 Paralympic Games torch to be ignited in England

Less than 10 months before the Paralympic Games in Paris, the route the torch relay will cover was unveiled on Friday, with a departure from the spiritual home of disabled sport at Stoke Mandeville in England.

Paralympic torch

After a passage through the Channel Tunnel, a total of 1,000 torch bearers will carry not one but 12 flames - a reference to the 12 days of the Games - across France between August 25 and 28, the date of the opening ceremony at Place de la Concorde in Paris.

Tony Estanguet, the head of the Paris 2024 organising committee, said the initiative was to ensure "maximum visibility" in four days compared to the Olympic torch relay which lasts 80.

"Unlike the Olympic flame, we'll be able to see it in several places at the same time," explained Delphine Moulin, director of celebrations for the Paris Games.

Although France host the Paralympic Games for the first time next year, the very first edition dates back to 1948, when German neurologist Ludwig Guttmann decided to organise sporting events before the London Olympics that year for World War II veterans left paraplegic and wheelchair-bound, at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in north London.

It is there that the flame will be lit before heading to France.

The exit from the Channel Tunnel in Calais will also mark the lighting of 11 other flames across France, visiting 50 cities in four days from Strasbourg to Lyon, via Lourdes and Rouen.

The route has been designed to highlight the sporting commitments of cities as well as showcasing France's history and heritage.

The main flame, coming from England, will reach the Paris region via Arras, Amiens and Chambly.

Like the Olympic flame, "a security bubble will be put in place around the 1,000 carriers across the 50 cities," Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said on Friday.

Cities were selected on the basis of their commitment to inclusion through sport, or for their unique cultural heritage and symbolism, such as Limoges Cathedral, Strasbourg and the European Parliament.

"The torch relay should make it possible to create unity between the French and the Paralympic Games," said Marie-Amelie Le Fur, president of the French Paralympic and Sports Committee (CPSF).

All the host cities will also be venues for events with festivals and introductions to Paralympic sports.

The flames will converge on Paris on August 27, the eve of the Games opening ceremony with a final parade through the city.


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