First run of Olympic torch in mainland China concludes (Lead)

May 4th, 2008 - 7:13 pm ICT by admin  

Sanya (China), May 4 (Xinhua) The first relay run of the Olympic torch in mainland China concluded in this southern town at the scenic spot of Tianya Haijiao Sunday. During the torch relay, tens of thousands of people lined the route, chanting in support of the Beijing Olympic Games.

Pop star Jackie Chan and Pu Huifang, head of the town, who ran as the last torch bearers, kindled the cauldron at 5:56 p.m., amidst loud cheers and applause from the spectators.

The relay started from the Phoenix Island, passing the Crown of Beauty Center, Haiyue Square of Sanya Gulf and Haihong Square.

China’s short track speed skating Olympic champion Yang Yang was the first torchbearer.

“I felt both excited and nervous to be the first torchbearer in the Chinese mainland,” said Yang, the first Chinese gold medallist in the Winter Olympic Games.

Yang won two gold medals in the women’s 500 metres and 1,000m short track speed skating at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002 to end China’s gold drought at the winter Olympics.

She has collected a total of 59 world titles in her career in the World Championships and World Cups before her retirement at the age of 30 in August 2006.

A total of 208 torch bearers took part in the 30-km relay.

The flame will go to Wuzhishan city Monday, and arrive in Haikou, the capital city of the southern province of Hainan Tuesday.

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