Hurdling star James Taylor demands answers over Olympic torch relay ban
TOP Olympic officials will be contacted in an attempt to clear the name of an athlete banned from being a torchbearer.
Medal-winning hurdler James Taylor was picked to carry the flame through Stafford but was kicked off the relay days later after organisers said he failed Home Office checks.
The 17-year-old claims he does not have a criminal record and his family have paid for their own Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check to prove it.
His parents Dave and Julie plan to write to Sebastian Coe, head of Olympic Games organisers Locog.
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Tristram Hunt, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, has added his support by writing to Jeremy Hunt MP, the secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport.
James, from Stoke, who won a silver medal in the 4x100m at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Turkey last year, said: "I still feel gutted about what's happened as I felt like I deserved the chance to be able to carry the torch.
"I feel like I have to tell people that I have done nothing wrong."
His mum Julie, aged 47, said: "We're still very upset about what has happened.
"The moment has gone for James but it has left him with a tainted name.
"People assume he has done something wrong when he hasn't.
"We'll keep fighting to know what has gone on.
"We did a CRB check through the internet and that came back clear.
"We knew it would but we wanted to check nothing had been put on there accidentally."
James was nominated to be a torchbearer by UK Athletics.
The Newcastle College student also reached the top of the UK under-17 rankings for 60m hurdles, and was named Junior Individual of the Year at this year's Sentinel Sports Awards.
Checks by Locog cover immigration, security and criminal records.
The organisation has said applicants can fail for various reasons but would not discuss individual cases.
Tristram Hunt said: "I just think that we want some clarity about his status. He wants to continue with athletics and he doesn't want something like this hanging over him.
"He wants to know if there is any other information being held about him.
"This could be a case of a bureaucratic blunder and they don't want to admit it."
Thousands turned out across the region to welcome the torch being carried through Staffordshire.
The MP added: "The people of the area have really supported this event and I was very impressed with the celebration in Stoke-on-Trent."