Melbourne, Apr 8: Olympic association chiefs are likely to consider scrapping international torch relays for future Games in the wake of the worldwide protests that have disrupted the run-up to the Beijing Olympics to be held this August.
According to reports appearing in The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald, the International Olympic Committee executive board is expected to review the future of international legs of the torch relays at its three-day meeting in Beijing beginning Thursday. Australian IOC board member Kevan Gosper was quoted as saying: "I would expect that the executive committee will review that.'' He said talks would focus on whether the relays should be limited to the country where the Olympics are to be held, rather than a journey around the world. However, there was no suggestion that the IOC chiefs would discuss scrapping the current torch relay for the August Beijing Games.
"My belief is the torch relay will stay on course. There might be adjustments, but I think it would be wrong, actually, to try and do anything more than try to get the torch through to its ultimate destination,'' Gosper said.
The Beijing Olympic organisers also vowed today that the torch relay would continue as planned.
Gosper accused the torch protesters of being motivated by a misplaced hatred of China.
"They just take their hate out on whatever the issues are at the time, and that hate against the host country is being taken out on our torch," he said.
Gosper warned that the protesters would harm their cause.
"When people get to the point where they will break lines, take the torch, try to put the torch out, I think one would argue that does a lot of harm to their own cause," he said.
Gosper described the protesters as "professional spoilers'' who had no regard for the efforts made by China to prepare for the Games.
Gosper said the torch relay would continue through its epic journey across 19 nations before returning to Mainland China.
Beijing Olympic organising committee (BOCOG) spokesman Sun Weide said today that "no force" could stop the torch relay.
He expressed anger at the recent protests, and blamed Tibetans seeking independence for their homeland for most of the chaos.
Yesterday, the Olympic flame relay was cut short in Paris due to constant disruptions by hundreds of campaigners protesting over China's controversial rule of Tibet and a range of other human rights issues.
Widespread protests also disrupted the previous day's leg in London, while activists have promised more of the same in San Francisco for the next leg.
Exiled Tibetan leaders say more than 150 people have been killed in nearly a month of unrest in Tibet and other areas of China.
Tibetans are protesting at what they say is nearly six decades of repression under Chinese rule.
China insists its security forces have killed no one while trying to quell the protests. It says Tibetan rioters'' killed 20 people.