John still carrying flame for Llandeilo
1:01pm Thursday 2nd August 2012 in Sport
FORMER Llandeilo tennis player John James carried the Olympic torch in London last Tuesday, writes Huw S Thomas.
The honour came in recognition for his long service to lawn tennis.
James, the former Secretary of the Lawn Tennis Association, ran leg 100 in Hillingdon.
Born in Llanelli in 1937, he played for Llanelli LTC and Llandeilo LTC and has served tennis for the last 40 years with determination, diplomacy and charm.
“It’s an honour for Wales, Llanelli and Llandeilo not for me,” said James. “And it’s nice to think that a small club like Llanelli and an even smaller one, Llandeilo, has played its part in giving me the chance to be part of the Olympic story.”
His launch into tennis administration came when he became a Welsh LTA council member in 1963 and for 10 years was involved in junior tennis as well as becoming an international umpire, officiating at Wimbledon.
He was elected to represent Wales on the LTA in 1972 and the following year was made Assistant Secretary of the LTA, a post which involved the organisation of Davis Cup and Wightman Cup matches.
From 1981 up to his retirement in 2002 he was Tournament Executive Officer at the AELTA Wimbledon Championships and in 1991 was also elected onto the International Tennis Federation Olympic Committee.
In 2001 he was elected Vice Chairman of the British Olympic Association and Chairman of the British Olympic Foundation and on his retirement in 2002 he was made President of Tennis Europe, a post he kept for six years.
Over the last four years he has been a key organiser of London’s Olympic Games tennis competition.