Olympics 2012 torch relay 'will not leave Britain' - report

Other News Materials 31 August 2008 10:55 (UTC +04:00)

The Olympic torch relay before the 2012 Olympics in London will be restricted to Britain after protests marred the worldwide relay ahead of the Beijing Games, a report said Sunday.

Tessa Jowell, the minister with responsibility for the Olympics, told The Sunday Times she had "a lot of enthusiasm" for the idea of the torch being taken round the "villages, towns and cities in the UK".

"There would be no more powerful way of making them feel part of the Olympics, would there?" Jowell said in an interview, the AFP reported.

The weekly said that Jowell would announce that the relay would take place only in Britain, although it did not quote the minister as saying this.

China's decision to take the torch around the world turned into a global protest by pro-Tibet campaigners, who tried to wrestle the torch from the hands of runners on stages in Europe.

The Beijing torch was surrounded by tracksuit-wearing security minders on its troubled passage around the globe.

Left with a tall order to rival the spectacular Beijing Olympics, the London organisers have promised a more modest Games with less draconian security.

Jowell said the 2012 planners had noticed that some venues in Beijing had sparse crowds.

"My ambition is to see seats filled, every Londoner having the opportunity to see some event, and people being able to come from around the country. It's not simple, but we are determined to crack this," she told the newspaper.