Football legend Maradona may carry Olympic torch

April 2nd, 2008 - 1:14 pm ICT by admin  

(Torch Relay Diary)
Buenos Aires, April 2 (Xinhua) Argentine soccer celebrity Diego Maradona will be the first runner to carry the Olympic torch when it arrives in Argentine capital Buenos Aires April 11, if he is in Argentina, a source close to the negotiations has said. Also taking part will be former tennis player Gabriela Sabatini, silver medallist in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

“He is willing and negotiations are going well,” the source said, but he said that Maradona will be heading back from an overseas visit during this time, and has been unable to confirm for that reason.

Francisco Irarrazabal, the deputy sports chief for Buenos Aires city council, has formally invited Maradona, 47. The Argentine Olympic Committee did not invite him because their focus is on former Olympic athletes, a criterion Maradona fails to meet.


‘No problem for torch in Istanbul’

Istanbul: The upcoming Beijing Olympic torch relay will be held successfully Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, a high-ranking Turkish official has said.

Yalcin Aksoy, 58, an official of the Turkish Olympic Committee (TMOK) and in charge of the Istanbul torch relay, said that the Turkish authorities embarked on the event eight months ago with 14 departments of the city involved.

Aksoy, who is the general director of the Preparation and Organisation Council for the Istanbul Olympic Games, said “the torch relay of Athens Games was also made smoothly in Istanbul. Therefore, we are very experienced in the torch relay process. I don’t think there will be any problem.”


bTorch relay goes on in Almaty

Almaty: Top Kazak athletes will run the torch relay, including Bakhtiyar Artaev, Olympic boxing champion of 2004, Ludmila Prokasheva, skating bronze medallist of the 1998 Winter Olympics and Zhaksylyk Ushekempirov, Olympic wrestling champion of 1980.

Other local celebrities include Adilbek Zhaaksybekov, president of Kazakhstan football federation and Pavel Novikov, President of the national athletics federation. Mayor of Almaty Imangali Tasmagambetov and Chinese ambassador Zhang Xiyun are the other torchbearers. The torch arrived here Tuesday.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev is to attend the celebration ceremony of the relay. “It’s possible for president Nazarbayev to run as the torchbearer, but it’s not sure yet,” said Saken Balbaev, a press centre representative.

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