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SYZRAN, December 24. /ITAR-TASS/. An Olympic cauldron has been lit in Syzran, a city in Russia’s Samara region, where the Olympic flame arrived earlier on Tuesday.
The ceremony was held in Nadezhda sports centre, the final lap of the Syzran torch relay race. The cauldron was lit by a bronze winner of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games, gymnast Maxim Aleshin, and the head of the Syzran administration, Nikolai Lyadin.
“The Olympic torch relay in our city will undoubtedly give a huge boost to the development of mass sports in Syzran,” Lyadin said, mentioning administration’s plans to build an ice palace and a sports centre with a swimming pool.
The Central Stadium, one of the popular sports sites in the city, was to reopen in spring after large-scale reconstruction work, he said.
Syzran was the first of the three cities in the Samara region, located in the southeastern part of Russia’s European part, that host the relay race. The 6,600-meter race began early on Tuesday in city’s central square, where several thousand people had flocked despite an early hour.
Thirty people took turns to carry the torch across city streets, including bronze medal winner of the Moscow 1980 Olympics in grass hockey Alexander Myasnikov, cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko, Russian boxing champion Vassily Vetkin and winner of European and world taekwondo championships Yulia Turutina.
The Olympic torch is now on its way to another region’s city, Togliatti, where a relay race will start at 14:20 Moscow time (10:20 GMT).