Paralympics-Torch relay to start from Games hometown in Britain

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – The 2024 Paralympics torch relay will start from Stoke Mandeville, Britain, where the event was first imagined by neurologist Ludwig Guttmann in 1948, organisers said on Friday.

“We wanted it to kick off where the Paralympics were born,” Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet told a press conference.

The torch will then be carried by 24 British athletes and midway through the Channel Tunnel 24 French athletes will take over for the journey to Calais.

Eleven other flames will then be lit in France and all will converge on Paris for the Aug. 28 Games opening ceremony.

German-born Guttmann became a British citizen in 1945 and organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled war veterans three years later.

All participants in what Guttmann called the “Paraplegic Games” were suffering from spinal cord injuries and competed in wheelchairs.

The Paralympics will be held from Aug. 28-Sept. 8 and kick off with a ceremony at the Place de la Concorde after the athletes’ procession on the Champs Elysees.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)