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Olympic flame touring Shantou in rain


  The Olympic torch relay in Shantou, one of the Special Economic Zones of the China in the 1980s, started in rain on Saturday morning, marking the last stopover in Guangdong province.(Xinhua Photo)

  SHANTOU, South China, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Olympic torch relay in Shantou, one of the Special Economic Zones of the China in the 1980s, started in rain on Saturday morning, marking the last stopover in Guangdong province.

  The launching ceremony overcame the rainstorm in the morning, with a former weightlifting world champion Cai Yanshu taking over the first torch from a local official in the Dragon Bay District Square at 8:05 a.m. local time.

  Cai Yanshu, 44, is a world champion himself before training Zhang Guozheng to the Olympic champion.

  Cao won the Asian Games gold in men's 75kg category in 1986. In the 1989 world championships, he snatched a weight of160kg, grabbing the title of 75kg category.

  "I have never win an Olympic medal. The experience of being a torchbearer just makes up for the regret," said Cao.

  "I trained Zhang Guozheng to the top of Olympic podium in the 2004 Olympics and I now is honored to pass the Olympic torch. That's a consummation for me," added Cao.

  "It's a surprise for me to be the first torchbearer. It's no less than winning an Olympic gold medal. It's a credit from my hometown. The 200m is very short, so I need to get prepared for each action and movement every second as I am carrying the torch. Each torchbearer is bound to showcase the best in his/her country and his/her hometown."

  Other renowned torchbearers are Sun Shuwei, the 1992 Olympic champion in diving, Chen Kunxiong, a paralyzed athlete with over 20 gold medals in his career, Xu Yinchuan, an international master of Chinese chess and Chen Hanshi, who ran for a second time after Bangkok relay last month.

  Shantou mayor Cai Zongze will be the last one to carry the torch. The relay in Shantou is set to proceed a course of 36 kilometers, traversing Pangu Bank, Heng Mountain Road, Tai Mountain road, Train Station Square, Bay Bridge, City Swimming Stadium, Gold Sand Park, Times Square, Yellow Mountain Road, Seaside Road, training base of the Chinese diving team.

  The highlight scenes along the route are Gold Bay Bridge, Star Lake Park and torch exhibition in the diving base. The celebration ceremony is to be put on in City People's Square.

  Shantou, historically known in the West as Swatow or Swatau or Sutao, is a city of five million inhabitants in coastal eastern Guangdong Province, China.

  With its immediately surrounding cities of Jieyang and Chaozhou, the metropolitan region - known as Chaoshan had a population of 14million by the end of 2007.

  Shantou, a city significant in 19th-century Chinese history as one of the treaty ports established for Western trade and contact, was one of the original Special Economic Zones in China, along with other cities such as Shenzhen, Xiamen and Zhuhai.

  

  




[ PLA Daily 2008-05-11 ]

 

 

  

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