Ipswich: Town swim star is devastated by Olympic torch snub

KAREN Pickering has competed in four Olympic Games and worked tirelessly to promote sport in Ipswich.

But the Commonwealth gold medallist today spoke of her sadness at not being invited to take part in the town’s celebrations as thousands of people prepare to welcome the Olympic torch today.

Pickering moved to Ipswich from Brighton when she was a teenager and said she has been part of a number of initiatives aimed at improving sport in the town, including the Team Ipswich initiative.

The swimmer, who is set to be a commentator at the Games, admitted the snub has come as a bitter blow.

She said: “To not have been invited to be a part of the day in any way at all makes me feel sad because I feel a strong attachment to the town.

“When I moved to Ipswich, people took me under their wing. They supported me so much and it was amazing to feel adopted by the town in the way I was.

“I’m sad that I won’t be taking part in the event.”

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Pickering is set to carry the torch through Margate, in Kent, on July 19.

She said she will feel very proud to carry the torch but that she is disappointed she won’t be able to share the occasion with residents from her adopted town.

She added: “I will be emotional and proud to carry the torch in Margate but to be a part of the event in Ipswich would have been very emotional to me and very special because this is where I did my trade.”

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: “The council was given an allocation of tickets which went through a public application process.”

The spokesman added that tickets were allocated to other groups including charities, schools and sponsors of the Games.

? Do you think athletes from Ipswich should have been invited to the town’s celebrations? Tell us your thoughts by writing to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, IP4 1AN, or you can send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk

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