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  Olympic flame relayed on the sea in Olympic co-host Qingdao  



    QINGDAO, East China, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing Olympic torch was relayed Monday on the sea off Olympic co-host city Qingdao's coast in east China's Shandong Province.

    This is the first time that the sacred flame is transferred on the sea since the Olympic torch relay kicked off in the Chinese mainland on May 4, according to Zhu Yuetao, deputy secretary general of the sailing committee (Qingdao) of BOCOG.

    The torch relay started its tour in Qingdao at 8:10 a.m. July 21 at the measurement hall dock in the Qingdao Olympic sailing center.

    Zhang Xiaodong, windsurfing world champion and silver medalist for women's Mistral at 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, received the torch from Huang Sheng, vice governor of Shandong, as the first runner.

    Starting from the fourth bearer, the torch was getting down from the Olympic sailing prize-awarding platform to the "Qingdao" sailboat, which had sailed around the world to promote Beijing Olympics.

    It was then transferred among four bearers in the vessel for 1,000meters on the sea.

    Guo Chuan, captain of the sailboat and the first torchbearer onthe sea, held the torch high and waved to the cheering crowds on the banks.

    "It is my lifelong honor," said Guo.

    The flame was heading forward for about five minutes before it was passed to next bearer Liu Wei, deputy director of the competition department of Qingdao Olympic sailing committee.

    Liu stepped out of the boat cabin, lighted his torch from Guo's and used two torches to form a "V" sign.

    Wang Baoqi, vice chairman of Qingdao sailing sports association and Lu Huisheng, captain of China's scientific research ship "Dayang Yihao" which conducted a global oceanic research in 2005, were the third and fourth to carry the torch on the sea.

    The torch was relayed on the boat in the docks of Olympic sailing center for about 20 minutes and disembarked again from the slipway, where during sailing competition sailors push boats into the sea.

    The Olympic sailing events are to start on August 9.

    "Everything is now ready," said Yuan Zhiping, assistant to Qingdao sailing committee chief.

    The torch relay in Qingdao, covering 14.5 kilometers and involving a total of 259 torchbearers, is the first leg of the Olympic flame's tour in Shandong province.





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