"Light the Passion, Share the Dream". The Olympic torch relay slogan was fully put into practice in Hong Kong on Friday as the historic run attracted a wide range of participation.
The passion in the first relay in Chinese territory was drastically lit up. Cheers could be heard all through the city as large crowds lined the route despite spells of drizzle. Flags, banners, placards of good will were far and near.
Lee Lai-shan, Hong Kong's first Olympic gold medalist, takes over the Olympic torch from Chief Executive Donald Tsang at 10:28 a.m. on Friday to start the Hong Kong leg of torch relay back in China after a trip spanning the five continents.
"Welcome, the Sacred Flame," "Our Hearts with the Beijing Olympics," and "Go China," read placards.
"Today, the Olympic torch relay resumes on Chinese soil after its global journey across five continents. It is a great and solemn honor for Hong Kong, Asia's world city, to be the first city in China to welcome back the Olympic flame on behalf of our proud nation," said Donald Tsang, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, before he handed the first torch to Lee.
"As the Olympic torch is relayed through Hong Kong - and as it travels across the vast expanse of our country in the months ahead - I truly hope that it will continue to blaze a trail of unity and peace, for all people, of all nations. The goal of 'One World. One Dream' is there for us to achieve," he said.
One hundred and twenty torchbearers are set to cover a 26-km route, passing by such landmarks as Tsing Ma Bridge, Sha Tin racecourse and the Avenue of Stars before the torch is ferried across the Victoria Harbor onto the Hong Kong Island.