19th March 2012, 5:01pm
University shining stars named in London 2012 Torch Relay
The Olympic Tprch A student and staff member from the University of Lincoln have been officially named as torch bearers for the London 2012 Olympic torch relay.

Marketing and Recruitment Officer, Zoe Homes, as well student and member of the British Taekwondo Poomsae Squad, Sophie Chatel, will take part in the relay journey across the UK.

Zoe Homes, who was nominated by family through the Coca Cola Future Flames scheme, said she was excited to be given the once in a lifetime opportunity.

“They were looking for people who ‘open happiness in others’, and a panel felt that my story fitted, which is hard to believe because I'm just me. I believe life is all about the journey and as such do my best to make the most of every opportunity, trying always to do the right thing and keep smiling. I was given this life to do something with, so that is my aim - taking part in challenges, trying different things, raising money for charity, learning all the time, and being as encouraging to others as I can,” she said.

“It is a cliché, but it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. I know it's only 300m but being 1 in more than 7000 does make me feel kind of special. I've read many stories over the last couple of months about people who have been nominated, and being part of that group is very humbling.”  

Sophie Chatel was also excited to receive her official invitation this morning and said she was honoured to be chosen.

“To be recognised outside of my sporting community is very exciting. I hope this chance gives me the opportunity to promote what I believe is an amazing sport to people who know little, if not nothing at all, about it,” she said.

Sophie was nominated by Nottingham Council for her achievements and involvement in Taekwondo which include representing Great Britain at European and World Championships as well as developing rising stars at her local club.

Her love of the sport began when she used to watch classes run by her dad, a black belt 5th Dan Master in Taekwondo. At the age of 5 Sophie decided to give it a go and since then has never looked back. At the age of ten she became the youngest black 1st Dan in the region and at 17 became the youngest black belt 4th Dan in Great Britain. She was accepted into the Great Britain squad in February 2009, and has been representing the nation at international competitions including European and World Championships ever since.

“Taekwondo has given me so much confidence. I've been in some really stressful and nerve racking situations. Now exams and interviews seem like nothing,” she said.

“I am also an instructor at my local club and coach younger rising stars which is my main passion. I coach a number of children in the cadet national team and not only pass on my expertise, but my experiences in the sporting world to let them know what challenges they could face. I also pass on my love for the sport.”

The torch will enter Lincolnshire one month before the opening ceremony in London, visiting Louth on June 27, before travelling along the coast to Mablethorpe and Skegness. The torch will then visit Lincoln, where it will be part of a special cultural event at Yarborough Sports Ground. It will stay in the city overnight before leaving Lincoln Cathedral, heading through the iconic grounds of Lincoln Castle, where a special picnic and activity morning will be held for selected school children, before leaving the city past the Grandstand on its way to Nottingham.

The following day, the Torch will leave Lincoln Cathedral, heading through the iconic grounds of Lincoln Castle, where a special picnic and activity morning will be held for selected school children, before leaving the city past the Grandstand on its way to Nottingham.

More than 7,000 torchbearers will carry the Olympic Torch within 10 miles of 95% of people in the UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey. It will enable local communities to shine a light on the best their area has to offer – including celebrations of local culture, breathtaking landscapes and dynamic urban areas.
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