University athletes prepare to carry Olympic torch + VIDEO

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SPORTSWOMEN are preparing to take up their places in an historic relay.

Three athletes from Durham University will carry the Olympic torch as it is carried through County Durham on Sunday, June 17, in recognition of representing their country.

British Fencer, Kira Robets (right) from Durham University preparing for her Olympic torch relay.

British Fencer, Kira Robets (right) from Durham University preparing for her Olympic torch relay.

They are top-five ranked British fencer Kira Roberts, England-U21 hockey player Steph Elliott and rower Naomi Hoogesteger.

Kira is studying a masters degree in English Literary Studies and won gold medals in fencing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the British Universities and Colleges Sport Championships.

Steph Elliott, from Middlesbrough, is an England U21 player and has been a first-team level hockey player at Durham University since 2009.

She is studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport.

British Fencer, Kira Robets from Durham University preparing for her Olympic torch relay.

British Fencer, Kira Robets from Durham University preparing for her Olympic torch relay.

Last year, Dr Hoogesteger – who also teaches in the university’s School of Modern Languages – helped break the world record for the fastest Atlantic rowing crossing as the only female crew member.

Her next challenge will be to canoe down the Amazon in 2014 for another world record.

The Olympic torch will be welcomed to the university’s racecourse, on the banks of the River Wear, on the evening of June 16.

The celebration, organised by Durham County Council, will include live music and performances.