Para-archer Mel CLARKE carries the Olympic Torch
On 24 May, the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay travelled from Cheltenham to Worcester. The para-archer Mel CLARKE (GBR), who will represent GB at the Paralympic Games later this year, carried the Torch during its journey in the English Midlands, where she lives. Several other British archers will be among the Torchbearers in the coming weeks. Mel CLARKE was among 119 Torchbearers carrying the Flame on 24 May before it arrived at the Evening Celebration in Worcester where a cauldron was lit to mark the culmination of the day’s festivities. After the celebrations have finished, the Flame was transferred to a lantern and stayed in Worcester overnight.
A childhood love of sporting activity seemed ended following disablement at 13 years old, but instead inspired Mel CLARKE to strive for success in archery. Unable to walk without crutches, she became the first disabled archer in Europe to qualify for the able-bodied World Championships in America. However, she became ill at the competition and was given hours to live. She survived but was left blind in her shooting eye and completely paralysed from the waist down. She was told that she would never shoot again. Undismayed, she developed a new way of shooting and has since won National, European and World titles, as well as a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
Mel, who will represent GB at the Paralympic Games later this year, carried the Torch during its journey through Worcester, in the English Midlands, where she lives. Mel CLARKE described the experience as a torch-bearer as 'fantastic'.
“It was something I'll never forget,” she said. “What made it all the more special was having family and friends there to see me; it really was a memorable day.”
Several other members of the British archery community are planned to be among the Torchbearers. Olympians Alison WILLIAMSON and Naomi FOLKARD (on 9 July in Oxford) will be carrying the Torch during its journey to the Olympic Stadium in London, along with others who include internationals archers Nicky HUNT (on 5 July in Ipswich) and Glen CROFT, and Archery GB Finance Manager Wendy STEAD.
A woman who has dedicated her life to coaching disabled sports stars has been chosen to be a Paralympic Torchbearer. Archery GB senior coach Helen GEORGE was selected to carry the Flame for her tireless work in supporting the Paralympic archery team who will represent Great Britain at this summer’s Games. Her leg of the Torch Relay will start after the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics at Stratford and before the Paralympic Games begin on 29 August.
Edited by World Archery Communication