‘Olympics, torch relay not to be affected by earthquake’

May 13th, 2008 - 3:20 pm ICT by admin  

Xinhua
Beijing, May 13 (Xinhua) The Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) Tuesday expressed condolences to the earthquake victims in Sichuan and said the Games, including the torch relay, would not be affected by the natural disaster. Li Zhanjun, director of Beijing Olympic Media Centre, said they felt “very sad” for the victims in a recent earthquake in Sichuan province in southwest China.

“The BOCOG grieves for the people who suffered in the earthquake,” said Li on the sideline of the Getting to Know session, which sees a department head of the BOCOG brief the reporters on preparation for the Games every Tuesday.

Monday’s quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province in southwest China at 2:28 p.m., resulting in over 9,000 deaths reported so far.

Tremors were also reported in over half of China’s provinces and municipalities, according to the China Seismological Bureau.

Despite of the damages, the earthquake will not affect the 17-day Games opening Aug 8 in the Chinese capital, said Li.

“The earthquake, however, will not affect (preparation of) the Games,” he said.

The Beijing Olympics torch will reach Sichuan June 15 and thread through seven cities including its provincial capital Chengdu June 18. Li said the torch relay would not be halted.

“The earthquake-stricken area is not on the route of the torch relay so the relay will go on as scheduled,” he said.

“The relay route and schedule were a joint decision by the IOC and the BOCOG. We have no right to change it alone,” Li said.

“Until now, we have not received any instruction to stop the relay,” he said.
Xinhua

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