Rower Tom James in 2012 Olympic torch plea for Wrexham

Olympic gold medallist Tom James at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham Tom James says it will be a crying shame if the torch misses Wrexham

Gold medallist Tom James is supporting a campaign to have his home town Wrexham included in the 2012 Olympic torch relay route.

James was a member of the men's four rowing team who triumphed at the 2008 Beijing games.

He has backed a campaign launched by Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths to have the torch visit the town, saying it would be a "crying shame" if it did not.

The torch is due to visit Swansea, Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth.

Mr James said: "We have a proud Olympic tradition in Wrexham - let's not forget that I am not the first person from this area to win Olympic gold.

"That honour goes to Ken Matthews, who won gold in 1964 in the 20k race walk in Tokyo.

"Wrexham is the capital of north Wales and we are putting in a bid for city status so it would be a crying shame if we missed this glorious opportunity to benefit from some Olympic stardust."

He added: "In practical terms, it will be very easy to do because it will be travelling between overnight stopovers in Bangor and Chester."

Earlier this year, Health Minister Ms Griffiths wrote to Lord Coe, chair of the London 2012 Olympic Organising Committee to ask for Wrexham's inclusion into the route.

She said: "The campaign is attracting a huge amount of support from the people of Wrexham and it's fantastic news that our very own Olympic hero, Tom James, is wholeheartedly behind us.

"I believe the case to bring the Olympic torch is a compelling one and I hope the powers that be respond accordingly."

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