Olympic torch arrives in Beijing for final three days

Society Materials 5 August 2008 16:55 (UTC +04:00)

The Olympic flame on Tuesday arrived in Beijing for the final three days of torch relay before it reaches the Bird's Nest Olympic stadium on Friday evening, reported dpa.

The relay in Beijing will begin on Wednesday at the Forbidden City, just north of Tiananmen Square and end at another historical Beijing landmark, the Temple of Heaven.

It will last more than four hours, with the relay route being 16.442 kilometers long. There will be 433 torch bearers on the first day.

On Thursday, the second day of the relay, 268 torch bearers will take the torch 14 kilometres from the Badaling tourist section of the Great Wall back into the city, finishing at the Ditan (Temple of the Earth) Park.

On its final leg on Friday, the torch relay will start from Zhoukoudian, the suburban site where the archaeological gem Peking Man was discovered, the Beijing Olympic organizers (BOCOG) said Tuesday.

The 8-kilometre leg will end at Beijing's 101 District Middle School on Friday, from where the torch will be transported to the National Stadium for the opening ceremony in the evening.

Of the 841 torch bearers for the three days in Beijing, 232 are members of the Beijing Olympic Committee, 90 are members of the Chinese Olympic Committee, 60 are members of the International Olympic Committee, and 170 are associated with sponsors, BOCOG said.

The other 289 runners were chosen by the Beijing city government, it said.

The torch bearers in Beijing include basketball star Yao Ming, China's first astronaut Yang Liwei and China's shooting gold medalist Xu Haifeng.

As always at Olympic Games, the identity of the final bearer of the 2008 torch relay, who will light the Olympic flame in a cauldron in the National Stadium during the opening ceremony, is a well-kept secret.

A torch relay leg was held earlier on Tuesday in Chengdu, the provincial capital of earthquake-devastated Sichuan province, just a few hours before another 6.1-magnitude aftershock rattled the area.