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PERM, January 03, 10:07 /ITAR-TASS/. The Olympic flame has arrived in the capital of Russia’s Perm region, Perm. At Perm-1 railway terminal, the torch was welcomed by Perm Region Governor Viktor Basargin, the regional minister for sports Pavel Lyakh as well as torch bearers, local citizens and folk dance and song groups.
“I am glad that the new year begins in the Perm region with such a significant event - the Olympic torch relay race,” the governor said at the ceremony to welcome the Olympic flame. He said it would be a landmark event that would inspire the local youth to go in for sports.
The flame then traveled to the Bolshoye Savino airport from where it will fly to one of the oldest cities of the region, Kungur. The torch relay race will begin there at 5 pm local time (3 pm Moscow time) with its participants taking turns to carry the torch on its five-kilometer-long route across city streets.
Twenty-five athletes and public activists will carry the Olympic torch across Kungur, including Svetlana Vysokova, a bronze medal winner of the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin (Italy) in speed skating. She will relay the Olympic torch to Anastasiya Chirtsova, a member of the Russian national freestyle team and participant in the Universiade in China and the World Cup. Vladimir Malykh, many-time world and European champion among veterans, a maraphone runner who twice won world athletics championships, will be the last torchbearer.
After the relay race, hot-air balloons will lift the torch into the air. The Kungur phase of the relay race will end with “a dance of elephants” in which hot-air balloons will synchronously move to the music.
Late on Friday, the Olympic torch will return to the administrative capital to be housed for the night at the Orlyonok palace of sports.
The Perm stage of the relay race will begin early on Saturday, with 235 people taking turns to carry the torch 47 kilometers across city streets. There will be renowned athletes, scientists, painters, medics and teachers from across the region among them.
Mass festivities will begin in Perm at 6:30 pm, and the Olympic cauldron will be lit at about 9 pm.
The Olympic torch relay race started in Moscow on October 7, 2013. It will be 65,000 kilometer long, covering the whole territory of the country and traveling through 2,900 settlements before arriving in Sochi, the Black Sea resort city that will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.