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SMOLENSK, October 12 (Itar-Tass) - Smolensk has met the Olympic Torch Relay.
Residents have met the Olympic flame at the T-34 monument, which stands on the entrance to Smolensk.
“We feel part of the great state and we realise that the Olympic flame is one of us,” Smolensk region deputy governor Nikolai Kuznetsov told Itar-Tass.
He named this event “historical” and expressed hope that due to the Olympic Torch Relay “we’ll be witnesses of new victories of Smolensk athletes”.
The weather in Smolensk is good. Those who wish to watch the ceremony have gathered near the monument. Participants in the Olympic Torch Relay welcomed a newly married couple. The couple came to the monument to lay wreaths and commemorate heroes of World War II.
Chief of the Sports Department Eduard Zayechkovsky has opened the Smolensk stage of the relay. The guardian of the flame burnt the Olympic torch and the ceremony started.
Zayenchkovsky was one of those who bore the torch of the Olympic Games 1980. He was student of the Smolensk State Institute of Physical Culture. “It seemed to me it could be once in a lifetime. Now it is repeating. I feel joy,” he said.
A total of 100 torchbearers, including Olympic champions Olga Kuzenkova and Nadezhda Talanova, will take part in the relay. Among torchbearers will be world champion Svetlana Shkolina and 16-year-old poetess Nastya Tolcheva.
The relay will cover the distance of 200 kilometres. The Olympic cauldron will be burnt at Lenin Square.