Olympic torch relay starts in China’s Salt Lake city

June 22nd, 2008 - 9:51 am ICT by IANS  

Golmud (China), June 22 (Xinhua) The Olympic torch relay kicked off its Qinghai leg Sunday morning in Golmud, known as China’s “Salt Lake city”. Thousands of residents from the city and neighbouring counties gathered on the Salt Lake Square watching the starting ceremony of torch relay.

The ceremony began at 9 a.m. with a one-minute silence to pay respect to the victims in the catastrophic May 12 quake in Sichuan province, which claimed more than 69,000 lives.

Qiang Wei, Communist Party chief of Qinghai province, passed the torch to the first torchbearer, Cega, a Tibetan man known as “Tibetan Antelope Guard” who spent more than 10 years on anti-poaching in the nearby Hol Xil Nature Reserve.

“As the first torchbearer, I’m very proud and excited,” said Cega right before the start-up. “Wish the Beijing Olympics a perfect games.”

The second torchbearer is Liu Shengchun, a local private entrepreneur whose company donated Kunlun Jade worth of 36 million yuan to the Beijing Olympic organizers for making the Olympic medal.

A total of 171 torchbearers will run the 7.5-km route in this leg of torch relay.

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