Torch relay of Asian Winter Games kicks off in Almaty

15:41, January 13, 2011      

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The torch relay of the 7th Asian Winter Games kicked off in Almaty of Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

More than 80 torch bearers from political, cultural, sports, media and education sectors running over a relay route of 11.7 kilometers across the city.

The relay started from the Intrenational Ski Jumping Complex, also one of the sports venues for the game. Serik Seydumanov, deputy mayor of Almaty became the first bearer of the torch. The relay team then passed through some major streets of the city, and finally ended at the Astana Square, where the lighting ceremony was held.

At the route there were two types of relaying, one is bearer riding bicycles which means a healthy life style while the other is carriers riding horses which signifies the traditional spirit of the kazakh nation.

Akhmetzhan Yesimov, mayor of the city said at the relaying ceremony that "It (hosting the game) is not only a big pride for us, but also a big responsibility."

The torch arrived at Almaty early morning on Wednsday. The flame has been lit a day before in Kuweit city.

After leaving Almaty, the torch will visit another 16 big cities of Kazakhstan in 18 day and arrive at the capital city Astana on Jan. 30 at the games' opening ceremony.

The 7th Asian Winter Games will be held in Astana and Almaty in Kazakhstan from Jan. 30 to Feb. 6. Kazakhstan is the fourth Asian country after Japan, China and South Korea holding the Asian Winter Games.

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