News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Sports » Asia leg of Torch relay ends

Asia leg of Torch relay ends

June 10, 2004 21:27 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

The Olympic torch completed its final lap in Asia on Thursday by passing through New Delhi, the sixth city to receive the flame on its world tour in the run-up to the Athens Games.

Also Read

PT Usha declines last-minute invite

It's a great honour: Ajitpal Singh

Athens torch arrives in India on final Asia leg

Slide show: Olympic Inspiration

Milkha slams torch bearers selection

Thousands braved the summer heat and lined up along the pavements to watch leading athletes and celebrities carry the torch around the city.

The Flame, which landed in a special lantern on its private jet Zeus, was transferred to a skittle-shaped torch under the 13th century Qutab Minar, a 73-metre (239 feet) tall sandstone tower, before the 33.2-km (21-mile) run began.

Over 100 runners carried the Torch in the capital, which hosted the relay for the first time since the lead-up to the 1964 Tokyo Games.

The six-hour run culminated with former men's 400 metres runner Milkha Singh passing the Flame to woman shooter Anjali Vedpathak-Bhagwat, who lit a cauldron at the National stadium, the venue of the inaugural Asian Games in 1951.

People packed into the stadium to witness a cultural show, which was attended by Pakistani Olympic officials highlighting the recent thaw in diplomatic relations between the two countries.

But the relay triggered some controversy with former Olympic sprinter P.T. Usha boycotting the run after being invited only after a media outcry.

"This can happen only in India," she said. "I feel very bad. It's not an opportunity you get every day."

Milkha backed Usha: "Torch-bearers should only be those who have sweated it out for the country. Usha has brought (a good) name for the country."

The flame will travel next to Cairo for its African leg.

It will return to Greece on July 9 for a final homecoming tour before entering the Olympic stadium at Athens to light the cauldron on August 13.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
© Copyright 2024 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.