''Journey of Harmony'' lands in Istanbul

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{image-olympic torch_03042008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Istanbul, Turkey, Apr 3: Under the theme of ''Journey of Harmony'', Beijing Olympics flame today arrived here for the second leg of the global torch relay.

The Beijing Organising Committee of Olympic Games (BOCOG) executive vice president, Jiang Xiaoyu, carried the flame lantern and walked off the plane and made a spell of exhibitions at the airport. The Olympic flame was welcomed by a cheering crowd, among whom were vice governor of Istanbul province Ergun Gungor, senior official of the Turkish Olympic Committee Yalcin Aksoy and Chinese ambassador to Turkey Sun Guoxiang.

Earlier on April 1, Aksoy said ''The 17.8-km torch relay will start Thursday afternoon in Istanbul, the only city in the world located on two continents -- Asia and Europe.'' He said, ''The starting point of the relay in Istanbul will be the city's signature St Sophia Square (adjacent to Sultan Ahmet Square) and Tugba Karademir, a promising Turkish figure skater aged 23, will be the first runner.'' After returning to the European part of Istanbul, the torch will head for the destination, Taksim Square, for the lighting of a ceremonial cauldron. Then the Olympic flame will go to Russia's St Petersburg city.

The 2008 Olympic flame was ignited on March 24 in Ancient Olympia of Greece and was handed over to Beijing on March 31 after a six-day relay in Greece.

The 130-day torch relay will cover 137,000 kilometers before the flame returns to Beijing and enters the National Stadium on August 8 for the Olympics' opening ceremony.

UNI

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