Monday, April 21, 2008

Torch in the rain

Taken from

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21) -- The Kuala Lumpur leg of the 2008 Olympic torch relay concluded successfully on Monday when the last torchbearer, Malaysia's ninth king and Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, lit the waiting flame cauldron at about 6:00 p.m. local time (1000 GMT).

From the Malaysian capital's Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), the sacred flame made its way through important historic and tourists sites around the city, finally stopping at the Petronas Twin Towers about four hours later.

Minutes before the clock struck 5:00, the clouds above Kuala Lumpur opened up and let down sheets of rain. This, however, did not seriously affect the relay, and fans stayed out, risking getting soaked, to offer their support for the Beijing Games.

Speeches given at the closing ceremony included thanks to BOCOG for putting Kuala Lumpur on the torch relay map, and wishes for a successful Beijing Games.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar spoke about the honor his country feels of being selected as a stop on the global route. Malaysians will remember this day forever, he pronounced. The OCM president was the first torchbearer on Malaysia's route.

Jiang Xiaoyu, BOCOG vice-president, brought up the long, cooperative friendship China and Malaysia have developed through the years. The sacred flame's "Journey of Harmony" represents worldwide peace, the representative continued, emphasizing that the Beijing torch relay stop in Malaysia will serve to strengthen ties between the two countries.

This is the second time since 1964 that Malaysia has hosted a torch relay.

At 11:00 p.m., the sacred flame will take off on its chartered plane to its next stop, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.

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