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Olympics-Torch begins COVID-shortened trek past Beijing landmarks -Breaking


By Yew Lun Tian

BEIJING, (Reuters) – Beijing’s COVID-shortened Olympic torch relay started Wednesday. Yao Ming, a Chinese basketball player and a soldier from China who were both wounded during a violent 2020 border clash between India and China were among those to be carried the symbol flame in a trip that lasts just three days.

It is much more compact than the tour that took the flame to iconic landmarks like the Great Wall or Summer Palace, which was interrupted by protests.

COVID-19 will ensure that this week’s relay is only seen by a select few.

It is, however, bad luck. But what are you supposed to do?When asked by a reporter if he worried about the 2022 Olympics being referred to as the “corona Olympics”, Georgios Iliopoulos (Greece’s Ambassador to China) said that he did not believe so.

You cannot end life, and we try our best to keep up with the things we are dealing with. “The important thing is that we stay together and get it over with as soon as possible,” said he to reporters.

The Olympics will take place from February 4, to February 20, 2012.

This flame was originally flown in October from Greece and will continue its travels to competing zones (including Zhangjiakou in the neighboring Hebei Province) before it is finally stopped by Friday’s lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

Wednesday’s event was held under blue skies at Beijing. Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng, a Chinese vice premier, lit a torch out of a cauldron shaped like a zun. He then gave it to Luo Zhihuan aged 80, who, as a speed skating champion, became China’s first ever winter sports world champion.

Qi Fabao (a regimental commander of the People’s Liberation Army) was one of the torchbearers. He was severely wounded in a border conflict with Indian troops in Galwan valley in 2020 that resulted in four deaths. Wang Meng, a four-time gold medalist in speed skating short track, handed him the torch.

The relay will feature more than 1000 torchbears.

Yao answered a question during the sub-freezing morning about how it felt to be an Olympics torch-bearer. He said that it was pretty cold since the Olympics were held the same two years before. It’s still warm enough to light a candle in winter.

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