Sports / China

Olympic flame for Nanjing Youth Games lit in Athens

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-01 17:30

Olympic flame for Nanjing Youth Games lit in Athens

Chinese hurdler Jiang Fan, left, passes the Olympic flame to tennis player Sun Ziyue, right, as the first leg of the torch relay starts at the Panathinaic Stadium in Athens, on April 30, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

ATHENS - The Olympic flame for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games was ignited in a traditional sun-ray lighting ceremony on Wednesday at the Panathinaic Stadium in Athens and was handed over by Greece to the Chinese delegation with warm wishes for best success.

At the marble venue of the first modern Olympics of 1896 in the presence of dignitaries, such as Greek President Karolos Papoulias, and fans of the Olympic movement, including veteran athletes and children, High Priestess Katerina Lehou lit the sacred flame which will burn for the Aug 16-28 Games out of a conclave at 11:16 am local hour.

"Apollo God of Sun and the idea of Light send your rays and light the sacred torch for the hospitable city of Nanjing and you Zeus give peace to all peoples on earth and wreath the winners of the Sacred Race," Lehou said in a "prayer" to the ancient Greek mythology gods, while igniting the torch.

Under the applause of the audience she then handed the Olympic flame to the first torchbearer, Greek fencing athlete Marios Giakoumatos, launching the torch relay.

Chinese tennis player Sun Ziyue, hurdler Jiang Fan and Greek rowing athlete Athena Aggelopoulou participated in the first leg of the relay inside the Stadium before the handover of a safety lamp with the flame to Chinese Olympic Committee President Liu Peng and the start of an unprecedented virtual torch relay.

People worldwide have the opportunity to participate in the international leg of the relay before the flame reaches China as virtual torchbearers through an interactive application.

The flawless ceremony had started with the Athens Philharmonic Band playing the National Anthems of Greece, China and the Olympic Anthem and the hoisting of the Chinese, Greek and Olympic flags.

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