On world tour, Olympic flame arrives in Almaty

April 1st, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by admin  

Almaty (Kazakhstan), April 1 (Xinhua) A chartered Air China plane carrying the Beijing Olympic flame arrived Tuesday afternoon at Kazakhstan’s largest city of Almaty, the first stop of the global torch relay. The Almaty torch relay will set out from the Medeu ice skating rink Wednesday. There will be four other sites for the audience to welcome the Olympic flame — the Medeu dam in south-eastern Almaty, the Republic Palace, the Republic Square and the Astana Square in the downtown area.

Eighty torchbearers will cover the 20 kilometres distance. After the race, the Olympic flame will head for its next stop — Istanbul.

Earlier, the torch relay officially started from Beijing on its world tour covering a 137,000-kilometer journey.

The 2008 Olympic torch was lit eight days ago in Ancient Olympia, Greece, and was hauled back to Beijing Monday. During its one-day stop in China’s capital, where the 29th Olympic Games start Aug 8, the flame was given a warm-hearted welcome ceremony at Tian’anmen Square.

Chinese President Hu Jintao declared the start of the Beijing Olympic torch relay at the ceremony, marking the official start of the domestic and international torch relay that will end Aug 8 with the Games’ opening ceremony.

Following the footsteps of the 2004 Athens Games, the Beijing relay is the longest and most ambitious ever planned and will last 130 days.

The holy fire of the Olympics will also reach Mount Qomolangma, the world’s highest peak. It will be the first time for the Olympic torch relay to be held on the 8,844.43-meter mountain.

According to earlier reports, workers in Almaty worked over time ahead of the torch’s arrival. Still celebrating a traditional festival in holiday, staff deputed for the torch relay in the municipal city stayed in their offices on extra shift.

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