Event passes off peacefully

Tibetan antelope is a Games mascot

LHASA: The Olympic flame passed through Lhasa in a joyful and peaceful atmosphere on Saturday. The flame arrived in Golmud by flight in the afternoon.

Dawa Yangzom, a 32-year-old teacher at Tibet University, joined 155 torchbearers in the Olympic torch relay in Lhasa on Saturday. It was the third time she carried a torch for important sports events.

She lit a flame at the foot of Mount Tangula to start the torch relay for the Beijing Asian Games in 1990 at the age of 14. In 2004, she was chosen as a torchbearer for the Athens Olympics, and this year she was a torchbearer during the relay in Lhasa.

“I was so excited to learn that I would carry the torch for Beijing Olympics. I could hardly fall into sleep for several days,” said Dawa Yangzom.

“I couldn’t be prouder, knowing I am showing the rest of China and the world the very best of Tibet, she also told China Daily. “People are becoming increasingly interested in Tibet, and many have told me that their first thoughts about the place came from me,” she said. The 9.3-km torch relay started on Saturday in Lhasa with 156 torchbearers, including 75 Tibetans.

“Through the relay, I hope people will see that Lhasa has returned to its normal days and they will visit here again,” she said.

As a student of an art school in Tibet, she had no idea about the Asian Games or the Olympics when she lit the torch 18 years ago. “It wasn’t until I attended the opening and closing ceremonies of the Asian Games that I realised how big a sports event it was,” said the mother of a 7-year-old boy.

But this experience introduced the sport world to her. “I have been interested in sport ever since, and always keep a close eye on big events like the Olympics,” she said.

Olympics mascot

Tibetans become a distinct part of all torchbearers in the Olympic torch relay in Qinghai Province starting on Sunday. And the first torchbearer is a “Tibetan Antelope Guard.”

Cega, director of the Hol Xil Natural Reserve Administration, is now listed as the first torchbearer in Golmud as well as in Qinghai. He spent 10 years on anti-poaching efforts in Hol Xil and successfully promoted Tibetan antelope to be selected one mascot of the Beijing Olympics, Fuwa Yingying. “I’m very excited. I’m very proud,” said Mr. Cega.

Many other Tibetans like Kongbao Cedain, a medical aid worker who just came back from the quake-stricken Sichuan, would carry the torch in the Qinghai leg.

Tibetan torchbearers will run a high media-coverage distance in each stop. Nearly one-fifth of Qinghai’s 5.51-million population are ethic Tibetans. — Xinhua