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University sports star to carry Olympic torch today

22 May 2012

University of Manchester student, Blaire Hannan, will carry the Olympic torch into her home town of Bristol this afternoon.

Blaire Hanna
Blaire Hanna

Blaire will carry the Olympic flame on today’s anchor leg, a one-mile journey from Benjamin Perry’s pontoon at Redcliffe to the Millennium Square in Bristol.

Once there, she will take the torch onto the stage where thousands of people are expected to celebrate its arrival.  

Blaire, a first-year Speech and Language Therapy student, is a member of the paralympic transitional squad for sailing, and will transport the torch on the ‘Aiming High’ wheelchair-accessible powerboat along Bristol Floating Harbour.  

Blaire, 21, said: “It is a massive privilege to be part of the greatest sporting event in the world and represent paralympic sailing, but to get the rare opportunity to carry the flame by boat in the famous maritime city of Bristol, just makes it extra special.”

Blaire, one of the University’s Talented Athlete Scholars, was nominated as a torch bearer by Bristol City Council for achievements in competitive sailing after suffering from a rare neurological and muscular condition called dystonia, which has left her wheelchair bound.

It is also in recognition of her work with Bristol Sailability, a voluntary organisation which enables young disabled people to experience water-based activities, including sailing.

Blaire said: “Bristol Sailability are very close to my heart as without them I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have in sailing. Naturally I am very nervous but I have had some time now to get my head around it and I am hoping I will be able to relax and enjoy the experience.”

This Saturday, GB rower Zak Lee-Green, also a Talented Athlete Scholar at The University of Manchester, will carry the Olympic torch through Cardiff.

Notes for editors

Read more about Blaire on the official London 2012 website:

Read more about TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) at

For more information contact:
Jon Keighren, Media Relations Manager, The University of Manchester 0161 275 8384