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Torch relay for military games concludes in Wuhan

By SHI FUTIAN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-16 19:24

The torch relay for the upcoming seventh International Military Sports Council Military World Games arrived at its last stop on Wednesday in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, where the 10-day games will kick off Friday.

A total of 100 torchbearers passed the flame on a route through the host city's iconic East Lake Greenway.

The flame will be used to light the cauldron in the Wuhan Sports Center, where the opening ceremony will take place on Friday night.

The relay began with Liao Hui, weightlifting gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, collecting the torch from Jiang Chaoliang, Communist Party chief of Central China's Hubei Province. Chinese hammer thrower Zhang Wenxiu, a three-time Olympic medalist, was the last one to carry the torch.

The 100 torchbearers consisted of Olympic champions, Military World Games participants, researchers, experts, soldiers and foreign representatives from CISM member states.

Ma Xu, a former military medical worker and a soldier in China's airborne troop, ran the 98th leg of the relay, with the 86-year-old being the day's oldest torchbearer. In 2018, Ma donated her life savings of 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) to support the educational and cultural development of her hometown.

The torch is 70 centimeters long and weighs 780 grams. It represents peace, development and friendship.

The torch-lighting ceremony for the games was held on Aug 1 in Nanchang, Jiangxi province. Aug 1 also marked the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army. The Nanchang Uprising, which was led by the Communist Party of China, took place on Aug 1, 1927 and is remembered as the founding of the PLA.

A total of 2,019 torchbearers, including 70 foreigners, are involved in the torch relay in 27 cities and 16 military sites across the country from Aug 1 to this Friday.

Over 10,000 athletes from more than 100 International Military Sports Council member states will take part in the games. The Chinese delegation, the largest sports group in the games, boasts a record of 553 athletes selected from the Chinese military and will participate in all the events except golf.

A total of 27 sports (including two demonstration events) will be contested in 35 venues across the city – the largest number of events in the games' history, with badminton, table tennis, tennis and men's gymnastics all making their debuts this year.

Organizers are fully focused on staging a "green" games, so only a small number of the venues are new builds, with the remainder being renovations or temporary facilities. All of the construction was completed in just 27 months, with many of the venues located at local universities, where the public will have use of the facilities to ensure the games' lasting legacy.

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