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Olympic torch: Doctor Who star Matt Smith to carry flame

Category: Wales

Published: 25th May 2012 20:00:35

Doctor Who star Matt Smith will be swapping his sonic screwdriver for the Olympic torch as the relay travels from Cardiff to Swansea on day eight.

He will run an early morning leg in the Welsh capital, where the hugely successful television show is based.

Later in the morning the torch will be carried in Merthyr Tydfil by Welsh rugby player Matthew Rees.

And hurdler Colin Jackson, who in 1988 won Olympic silver in Seoul, will run one of the day's final legs in Swansea.

The torch will begin its journey from the British Antarctic Memorial statue in Cardiff and Matt Smith will take the torch in the city.

Once a talented footballer, who played for the youth teams of Nottingham Forest, Leicester City and Northampton Town, he should have no difficulty covering the 300m, after having to sprint away from numerous intergalactic monsters since taking over from David Tennant as the Doctor two years ago.

There is also a TV connection at the torch's third port of call as it moves on to Barry where scenes for the sitcom Gavin & Stacey were filmed.

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The relay then turns north towards Caerphilly, from where, later in the day, the first in a series of nine special live editions of Blue Peter will be broadcast.

Presenters Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood are hitting the road for the BBC programme's Big Olympic Tour, and after each show they will be taking part in a free event for families run by BBC Learning, which will include a host of interactive activities.

From Caerphilly, the relay moves on through Pontypridd to the day's most northerly point in Merthyr, where former Wales captain Rees, who has won 50 international caps and also played for the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa, will run the final leg of the morning.

After lunch, the relay will return south from Treherbert through the Rhondda Valley to Bridgend, before turning north west towards Port Talbot, the steelworks city that is home to Kite Tail, the largest sculpture in the Principality, and crossing the Sail Bridge before the climax of the day in Swansea.

The day's oldest torchbearer, 91-year-old Betty Gray, is due to receive the flame just before 18:00 BST.

She has been involved with table tennis since 1939, won world and European singles titles in her age group and is now president of the Table Tennis Association of Wales and still an active coach.

Less than an hour later, teenager Sophie Wheeler is due to hand the torch to Jackson, who is arguably the finest track athlete Wales has ever produced.

The 45-year-old former sprint hurdler, now an athletics commentator, won 21 major medals during his career, including 10 World and European golds - both indoor and outdoors - and two golds at the Commonwealth Games.

He set a world record of 12.91 seconds in 1993 that stood for almost 13 years and the only major title to elude him was Olympic gold, with second-place behind Roger Kingdom in Seoul the only time he reached the medal podium.

The day will end with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron in Singleton Park, part of Swansea's evening celebration which will also feature performances by Only Men Aloud, winners of the BBC's Last Choir Standing competition in 2008 and rock band Kids in Glass Houses.

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

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BBC News, 2012. Olympic torch: Doctor Who star Matt Smith to carry flame [Online] (Updated 25th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431042/Olympic-torch-Doctor-Who-star-Matt-Smith-to-carry-flame [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]

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