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Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 14:28 UK

Redgrave receives pleas on Tibet

Torch relay route


Sir Steve Redgrave revealed that anti-China protesters had urged him to boycott London's Olympic torch relay as the route was unveiled on Thursday.

Redgrave is one of 80 people who will carry the Olympic torch 31 miles through 10 London boroughs on Sunday.

He said: "I've had a number of emails to my website urging me that a stand from me would make a difference in the situation in Tibet.

"It was nothing untoward - they wanted me to seriously consider my views."

He added: "I can see why they would like to make an issue over the torch relay and the Beijing Games."

The torch is due to arrive in Heathrow on Saturday night and will be carried from Wembley to Greenwich.

MIHIR BOSE BLOG
BBC sports Editor Mihir Bose

Redgrave will begin the relay from Wembley Stadium at 1030 BST, England cricketer Kevin Pietersen will carry it around Big Ben and pop group the Sugababes are set to escort it along Oxford Street.

It is due to arrive eight hours later at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, where double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes will use it to ignite a cauldron.

Other torch bearers include Sir Clive Woodward, Tim Henman, Sir Trevor McDonald, Duncan Goodhew and Tessa Sanderson.

Street parties and live performances will be staged along the route.

The relay is expected to be a target for anti-China activists and thousands of officers will line the route.

There were scuffles between police and pro-Tibet protestors when the torch was handed to Chinese officials in Athens at the end of last month.

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose has learned that Prime Minister Gordon Brown will welcome the Beijing Olympic torch outside No 10 Downing Street on Sunday.

A failure to welcome the torch would have been seen as a dreadful snub by the Chinese government and Brown had come under pressure in recent weeks to publicly greet it.

The Prime Minister will be joined by medal hopefuls for the 2012 Games in London.

Downing Street sources say this does not mean the Prime Minister is any less concerned about the situation in Tibet, but is mindful that the Dalai Lama has advised that countries should not boycott the Beijing Games.

However, there is still concern in government circles about the level of protests that may be seen on Sunday and fears they may damage London as well as Beijing.

Downing Street has also made clear that the Prime Minister's decision has not come as a direct result of pressure from China.

The torch relay officially started on 1 April and the first stop was the Kazakhstan capital of Astana.

Next stop on the relay will be Paris as the torch continues on its four-month, 85,000-mile journey.

It will be carried by a total of 20,000 torchbearers and visit 21 countries before travelling through every province in China, making it the longest torch parade in Olympic history. The relay began 10 days ago

It was lit in Olympia, Greece, on 30 March and will go through 20 countries before being carried into the Beijing Games' opening ceremony on 8 August.


see also
Envoy 'will carry Olympic torch'
03 Apr 08 |  UK News
People 'doubt Olympics benefits'
03 Apr 08 |  UK News
Olympics 'worsening China rights'
02 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Beijing welcomes Olympic torch
31 Mar 08 |  Asia-Pacific
China raps Olympic torch protest
25 Mar 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Christie to carry Olympic torch
21 Feb 08 |  Olympics


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