The "father of hybrid rice," Yuan Longping runs as the first torchbearer in the Yueyang leg of the Olympic Torch Relay.
The "father of hybrid rice," Yuan Longping was the first torchbearer today as the Olympic Torch Relay began its tour of Yueyang. The launching ceremony was held at Yueyang Tower at 8:45 a.m.
Local officials delivered speeches at the ceremony and a silent tribute was paid to the victims of the Sichuan earthquake.
The route of the relay passes Yueyang's major landmarks, including Zhanyue Gate and Lakeside scenic area before concluding at Nanhu Square. In the afternoon the Olympic flame will go to Miluo, where a dragon boat competition will be held.
The 168 torchbearers of Yueyang include world champions Gong Zhichao and Ling Jie and famous singer Li Yuchun, among other noted figures.
Quake relief is one of the three major themes of the Hunan Province portion of the Torch Relay. Donations and tributes have been offered to Sichuan Province in each leg of the relay.
(BOCOG June 3, 2008)