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Three-day torch relay begins for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

  • Integrity Education, Delhi
  • 04, Feb 2022
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The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics torch relay began on Wednesday just a few days ahead of the opening of the international sporting event in the Chinese capital against a backdrop of diplomatic boycotts and ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks including in the host city. The Beijing 2022 Organising Committee had shortened the relay route because of the coronavirus pandemic and the number of torchbearers were also reduced to 1200. The first three runners in the relay were Luo Zhihuan, an 80-year-old former speed skater who won China’s first winter sport world championship title in 1963, astronaut Jing Haipeng, as well as satellite designer Ye Peijian, according to officials. The relay was closed off to the public and selected spectators had to follow strict Covid-19 control measures. State news agency said about 400 people, including officials, volunteers, athletes and journalists attended the relay launch ceremony on Wednesday.

The Olympic torch relay started at the Beijing Olympic Forest Park and will travel through the Great Wall and the Summer Palace, among other locations in Beijing, and then make its way to northwestern Yanqing district and neighboring Zhangjiakou city, before ending its journey at the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium for Friday’s opening ceremony. The Games, which open on February 4, are taking place inside a “closed-loop” bubble that seals off athletes and other Olympics personnel from the public, and only select groups of people will be allowed to attend events.

One of the most iconic traditions of the Olympic Games is the lighting of the Olympic torch in Greece and the subsequent relay that finishes in the host city. As always, the Olympic torch was first lit in Greece on October 18, at the site of the Ancient Olympia.

The torch is then symbolically given to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens by the Hellenic Olympic Committee. The Olympic flame arrived in China on 20 October last year, making Beijing the first city in history to welcome the flame for both the Summer (2008) and Winter (2022) editions of the Olympic Games. China is facing a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics over its human rights record which it had condemned. Despite the Western boycott, a few world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are expected to attend the Games.

Sources : News on AIR