At first glance, it does appear a bit odd. A number of people selected to carry the Olympic torch have ended up being allocated to parts of the route that are miles away from their homes – yet others with no local links will join relays in this area.
Though they all appreciate the honour of being asked to take part, the disappointment felt by those such as Gerry North is understandable. He’s become a legend for his work with the City of Portsmouth Athletics Club and wanted to be among those taking the torch through the city.
But instead organisers from London 2012 have given him a slot in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Meanwhile, people from Austria, France, Romsey, Brighton, Hove and Arundel are included on the list of torchbearers who will pass through Portsmouth.
Organisers say they have tried to ensure torchbearers will be running within an hour of their postcodes, but admit that logistics mean it hasn’t been possible to do that in every case. With 8,000 torchbearers, plus international partners who have invited people from overseas to take part as well, it’s proved a complicated exercise.
We sympathise with the likes of Mr North, who want to enjoy their big moment in their home area. But this must not detract from the bigger picture, which is the fantastic opportunity we have been given to play a part in the Olympic celebrations.
The eyes of the world will be watching when the torch arrives here and is proudly carried through Fareham and Gosport on July 15, before heading across the water to Portsmouth, then on to Chichester, Bognor Regis and Petersfield the following day.
It’s a great chance to showcase what this part of the country has to offer, with spectacular backdrops that will be seen by millions. And of course we feel sure the people of this area will turn out in force to play their part in the spectacle.
We congratulate all those chosen to carry that famous flame, from 12-year-old Kwesi James, a pupil at Charter Academy in Southsea, to 75-year-old Mr North. Wherever you’re running, we’re sure you’ll do us all proud.