Irish athletes, past and present, are petitioning the IOC to have the Olympic torch travel from Belfast to Dublin  ahead of the London Games in 2012.

Such a move currently contravenes Olympic rules, which banned the torch from traveling overseas after protests two years ago on the international torch tour before the Beijing Games.

However, there is a groundswell of support in Ireland to make an exception to foster and encourage the peace and good relations between the North and South of Ireland.

400 meter gold medal winner from the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Ronnie Delaney, is all for the torch trip south of the border.

“I am head of the Irish Olympians’ Association and we feel this would be a great move. The Games bring people an enormous amount of happiness,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

Delaney feels that an amendment to the rules would benefit not only the island of Ireland, but further foster the Olympic spirit around the world.

"I think there is enormous good will towards this idea and I am quite enthusiastic about it.  This would be a powerful symbol to the rest of the world,” he added.

Two-time European indoor 400 meter champion David Gillick is also in favor of the move.

“Given that things at the moment are looking quite fragile, it’s important to show that communities want peace. You couldn’t know this idea – the Olympics are watched all over the word and this would be a great sign of peace.

"It shows that sport can unite people and I am 100 percent behind it,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

Olympic Prescient of Ireland Pat Hickey has made the request and expects to hear back from the IOC in the next couple of months.

The Olympic torch will be paraded around Dublin next June after a symbolic crossing of the border at Newry