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2007 Law Enforcement Torch Run(R) for Special Olympics Final Leg to Begin with Celebration in Beijing before Touring Through China on Way to World Summer Games

2007-09-25 06:09 968

Law enforcement officers and athletes from around the world to deliver "Flame of Hope" to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games

BEIJING, 24 Sept. /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Beijing will welcome the Special Olympics "Flame of Hope" at the Great Wall at 8 p.m. tomorrow evening (Local Time) marking the beginning of the Law Enforcement Torch Run(R) Final Leg. Representing 38 nations, the Final Leg Team, made up of 127 participants including law enforcement officers, Special Olympics athletes and support team members will carry the flame throughout China, arriving in Shanghai to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremonies for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games, which will take place from 2-11 October. DHL, the world's leading express and logistics provider is Official Transporter of the "Flame of Hope" for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

"These law enforcement officers are true Guardians of the Flame; they come from all over the world to run alongside Special Olympics athletes, and each officer represents thousands more back home who steadfastly support the Special Olympics movement," said Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. "Likewise, the athletes who run with them epitomize the courage and dedication that our athletes display year-round."

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grass-roots fundraiser for Special Olympics Programs in the world. Every two years, law enforcement officers and athletes representing their state's or nation's Torch Run program are honored by being named to the Final Leg team that carries the Special Olympics "Flame of Hope" from Athens, Greece to the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games. Ignited by the rays of the sun on 29 June in Athens, the flame has traveled over five continents visiting Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, London, England, Washington, DC, USA, Seoul, Korea, Tokyo, Japan and Sydney, Australia before arriving in Beijing. The Final Leg Team then will divide into 12 groups and will carry the torch through China, visiting the 11 Host Town Program Cities of Beijing, Suzhou, Xi'an, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Harbin, Dalian, Jiaxing and Wenzhou, as well as Hong Kong and Macau before making its way to Shanghai for the World Games.

The 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games mark the first time the World Games will be in Asia. In addition to almost 7,500 athletes, Special Olympics expects the event to draw 40,000 volunteers, 3,500 event officials and thousands of families, volunteers, spectators and journalists from every continent.

Special Olympics athletes of all ability levels will compete in 25 different Olympic-type and demonstration sports including aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cricket, cycling, dragon boat racing, equestrian, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, judo, kayaking, lion dancing, powerlifting, roller skating, sailing, softball, table tennis, team handball, tennis and volleyball, as well as Motor Activities Training Program. Special Olympics athletes not competing in the World Games will play crucial leadership roles off the sports field as officials, assistant coaches, reporters and spokespeople.

Global partners of the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games include adidas, Bank of America, The Coca Cola Company, Mattel, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Special Olympics is an international non-profit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition to 2.5 million adults and children with intellectual disabilities across 165 countries. The Special Olympics Movement offers one of the world's greatest platforms for acceptance and inclusion for all people -- regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or cultural differences. Find out how you can become involved at http://www.specialolympics.org.

Source: Special Olympics, Inc.
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