Sat, September 06, 2008
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Paralympic torch relay ends in Beijing

2008-09-06 10:42:37 GMT2008-09-06 18:42:37 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Torchbearer Tao Wei(L) and his successor Han Rongfang pose for photos during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic torch relay in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 6, 2008.(Xinhua/Xu Liang)

The flame of the "Ancient China" and "Modern China" routes converges in China Millennium Monument during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic torch relay in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 5, 2008. (Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)

The last torchbearer Zhou Ye holds the torch on the Seventeen-Arch Bridge inside the Summer Palace during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic torch relay in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 5, 2008. (Xinhua/Gong Lei)

Local residents greet the torch during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic torch relay in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 6, 2008. (Xinhua/Gong Lei)

BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Paralympic torch relay came to end after 120 torchbearers passed the flame in the Chaoyang Park of Beijing on Saturday.

Xu Yuanshen, a trainer of China's disabled athletes, was the first torchbearer launching the 5.5km relay at 9:15 a.m. in Chaoyang Park, where the venue of Olympic beach volleyball locates.

Xu had been a basketball player in national team, winning the eighth Asian championships and ninth Asian Games. He had lifted national league trophy five times with his teammates.

Nikolaos Tsotras, a Paralympic athlete of Greece, ran in the 12th leg. He was an 18-year-old swimmer to race in six events at the upcoming Beijing Paralympics.

Other high-profile torchbearers are IPC secretary general Kassim Rahman, Malta Paralympic athlete Antonio Flores, Chinese singer of infantile paralysis Li Chen, Philippine Paralympic athlete Adeline Ancheta, Hong Kong Kongfu star Jackie Chan's son Fang Zuming.

After the torch relay, Li Chen will sing a self-composed song named "aspiration" in the warm-up of Paralympics opening ceremony on Saturday's evening.

Li made a sensation as a special singer in 1999. His song "outside of window" was one of the most popular songs that year.

Li was also a gold medalist in national games for the disabled. He won the men's 10m air pistol in 1993.

Barcelona Olympic table tennis champion Wang Tao, an Olympic torchbearer, attended the wheelchair for Li as a volunteer.

"Wang Tao is a world and Olympic champion. I'm a national champion. He is an Olympic torchbearer and I'm a Paralympic torchbearer. The combination between us is illustrating 'two Olympics, both wonderful'," said Li.

"That's the Olymic spirit. The healthy and the disabled go together, side by side."

The last torchbearer was Zhao Jihua, 65, from China's Disabled Persons' Federation. He is in charge of China's Paralympic delegation and also functions as spokesman in the Beijing Paralympics, which is to be opened on Saturday's evening in the National Stadium.

The Beijing Paralympic torch relay covered 13,181 kilometers in nine days passing eleven cities which were selected from provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of China.

The Paralympic torch relay was carried out along two routes, namely the route of "modern China" and the route of "ancient China". "Modern" route visited cities Shenzhen, Wuhan, Shanghai, Qingdao, Dalian prior to returning Beijing, while the "ancient China" route picked Xi'an, Hohhot, Changsha, Nanjing and Luoyang.

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