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Eager spectators grab best spots
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08:59, August 06, 2008

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· Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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Today marks the end of my three-month journey around the country with the Olympic torch.

On Monday night, ahead of yesterday's leg in Chengdu, I felt a bit low at the thought of saying goodbye to my fellow team members with whom I have spent the past 94 days and nights.

But that was not the reason I lay awake that night; rather, I could not get the scenes of the Mianyang event out of my head.

I had tears in my eyes as I recalled the images of the torch being cheered on by thousands of children who just a few months ago had watched their schools collapse around them, and of the soldiers reenacting some of their brave rescue efforts.

Eventually, I did fall asleep, only to be awoken at about 1 am by loud cheers of "Go, China! Go, Sichuan!" coming from beneath my hotel bedroom window.

Looking out, I saw a crowd of thousands all dressed in Olympic T-shirts. They were making their way to the start of the torch relay, clearly determined to get a good vantage spot.

I managed to shout to a few of them and discovered they were mostly college students who had arranged to get together after meeting online.

"We planned to come a bit later," Zhang Tong, a third-year student at Sichuan University, said.

"But the torch will leave Sichuan in a few hours for Beijing and in two days the Games will start.

"We're all so excited that most of us can't sleep. We just can't wait!" he said.

Also among the early birds was a group of quake-relief volunteers, including Qin Fei, a sophomore from Guilin University of Electronic Technology, who has been helping out in Yingxiu county, one of Sichuan's worst-hit areas, since early last month.

Due to his volunteering efforts in Sichuan, Qin said he missed the torch relay in his hometown in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, so he was determined not to miss out a second time.

Source: China Daily

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