Olympic flame stops in Seoul on jour­ney to Pyeongchang

Manila Times - - SPORTS - South Korean foot­ball leg­end Cha Bum- Kun ( cen­ter) car­ries the Olympic flame dur­ing the PyeongChang 2018 Torch Re­lay near the World Cup Sta­dium in Seoul on Satur­day. SEOUL: AFP

Cheer­ing crowds wel­comed the Olympic flame to a freez­ing Seoul on Satur­day, where the torch will be pa­raded for four days be­fore mak­ing its way to Pyeongchang for the start of the Win­ter Games.

The out­look for next month’s sport­ing ex­trav­a­ganza has bright­ened since North Korea con­firmed its par­tic­i­pa­tion, lift­ing se­cu­rity con­cerns over the South’s nu­clear-armed neigh­bour.

The North has agreed to send an un­known num­ber of ath­letes to the Games, ex­pected to be ac­com­pa­nied by a high- level del­e­ga­tion, sup­port­ers, ob­servers and an art troupe.

South Korean freestyle fig­ure skater Park Hee- Jin raised the flame high be­fore a crowd hun­dreds who were gath­ered in the cap­i­tal’s Sangam district in a cer­e­mony held just weeks be­fore the event on Fe­bru­ary 9- 25.

Fans un­furled ban­ners wish­ing the Olympics suc­cess ac­com­pa­nied by the rous­ing sound of tra­di­tional Korean drum­mers, while others took pic­tures with their phones.

“I am happy to be­come the first torch­bearer in Seoul”, Park, wear­ing a white and yel­low ski suit and a bob­ble hat, told re­porters.

The skater, who took part in the Sochi Win­ter Olympics’ qual­i­fy­ing rounds, then passed the flame to the next of more than 600 torch­bear­ers who will lead it on a 103 km (64 mile) jour­ney around the cap­i­tal un­til Tues­day.

It will ar­rive late Satur­day at the main en­trance to Gyeong­bok­gung Palace, the grand­est of Seoul’s his­toric sites, and will be car­ried in a sedan chair as hun­dreds of par­tic­i­pants in tra­di­tional court cos­tumes reen­act a royal out­ing.

The torch was re­layed by 16 run­ners to Korean foot­ball star Cha Bum- Kun near the Sangam World Cup Sta­dium, a venue for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

“Go Pyeongchang, Go Korea foot­ball”, for­mer Bundesliga player Cha said as he set off, with fans chant­ing his name.

The flame ar­rived in South Korea on Novem­ber 1, 100 days ahead of the open­ing cer­e­mony for the 2018 Pyeongchang Win­ter Games.

It has trav­elled through­out the coun­try, re­layed by a who’s who of Korean sports and en­ter­tain­ment stars in­clud­ing Kim Yuna, who won the ladies sin­gles fig­ure skat­ing at the 2010 Van­cou­ver Olympics and the sil­ver in the same dis­ci­pline at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Speed skater Lee Sang-Hwa, who will be aim­ing for a record-equalling third Olympic gold in the women’s 500m in Pyeongchang, for­mer US ma­jor league base­ball pitcher Park Chan-Ho and Choo Shin-Soo, who plays for base­ball team Texas Rangers, also held the torch.

Over­all, some 7,500 torch­bear­ers will have taken part in the re­lay, cov­er­ing more than 2,000 kilo­me­ters (1,243 miles).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.