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Olympic torch relay in Canberra a success: spokesman
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The Olympic torch relay in Canberra on Thursday was a success, said Australian Capital Territory government spokesman Jeremy Lasek.

Among over 20,000 people, there were only six arrests and it was a great result, he said.

"The most important thing is the flame was never in danger, from start to finish, and that's an enormous credit to our federal police," he added.

"We obviously feared the worst having seen incidents in the other cities around the world ...we feel right now relieved but elated -- we think we've pulled it off," he told reporters.

The Canberra leg of the Beijing 2008 Torch Relay concluded smoothly with only a few minor incidents along the way and nothing like the scenes of London, Paris or San Francisco.

At the War Memorial, over 200 Girl Guides sang to entertain the spectators as they waited for the torch to arrive.

Olympic ambassador Judy Patching, the 91-year-old torch bearer, carried the torch up from the bottom of Anzac Parade to the Remembrance Stone. Junior legatee Jake Warcaba ran up the steps past the military band to the War Memorial before passing the flame to Marjorie Jackson-Nelson.

Dual Olympic gold medalist Jackson-Nelson was thrilled to play a role at such a sacred place the day before Anzac Day.

"It just went too quickly. It was great coming in the bus with all the other athletes. They actually had someone from New Zealand so that was fantastic on Anzac Avenue," Jackson-Nelson said.

The 14-year-old Warcaba, the youngest torch bearer, was chosen by the Australian Olympic Committee as the Canberra torch relay falls on the eve of Anzac Day and his father had passed away while serving.

"It was awesome... what a great feeling. I still can't believe I was there in front of so many people," he told Xinhua.

"I was a bit nervous when climbing the steps of the War Memorial, just one day before Anzac Day. It was a once-in-a-life experience," Warcaba said.

The 91-year-old Judy Patching, the oldest torch bearer, told Xinhua that he felt great and it was a wonderful and well-organized torch relay. He was quite impressed by the fact that so many young people were involved.

"The young people's mass involvement today really reflects the Olympic spirit," he said.

The first torch was lit at 8:52 a.m. local time (10:52 p.m. Wednesday GMT) at Reconciliation Place on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2008)

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