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MOSCOW, March 02, /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian capital of Moscow will take over the Paralympic Torch relay on Sunday. The symbol of the Sochi Paralympics will be lit in a festive atmosphere at the All-Russia Exhibition Centre. The ceremony will be extraordinary and very touchy, as the Paralympic torch will be lit from a huge “heart”.
The relay race will start at 10:00 Moscow time on Sunday at the exhibition centre. Children with hearing disorders warming their hands on a huge “heart” will spark a light to ignite the Sochi Paralympic Torch.
The relay will have three stages in Moscow in north-eastern, central and western administrative districts stretching at 21.5 kilometres. The first stage will be held immediately after the torch-lighting ceremony at the exhibition centre. 15 people would take turns to carry the torch 2.5 kilometres across the exhibition. The international master of sport, 2009 world champion, multiple medalist of world and European championships, multiple champion and current Russian record-holder, finalist of the 2012 London Paralympics, Russian wheelchair rugby champion in 2013 and a member of the Russian Paralympic swimming team, Andrei Meshcheryakov, will be the first to carry the flame.
Then the Paralympic torch will be brought to a square in front of Moscow State University, where the second stage of the relay will start at 13:00 Moscow time. Member of Russian Paralympic swimming team and world vice-champion of the IPC Swimming World Championships in Canada’s Montreal in 2013 Alexandra Agafonova will take over the Paralympic torch. At the second stage the relay race will run on Vorobyevy Hills, along Moskva River Embankment to the Square of Europe, where the third last stage will start at 14:50 Moscow time. Lyubov Kezina will round off this stage of the relay at Luzhniki palace of sports. She has set up the Moscow city physical culture and sport association, which is a major scientific-research sport institution, organised the first World Youth Games in Moscow and formed first Moscow teams of table football and wheelchair rugby, which is a new Paralympic kind of sport.
The Paralympic Flame will be brought to Luzhniki sport complex then. A festive concert will begin there at 16:00 Moscow time, a festive ceremony of lighting a bowl of the Paralympic Flame will start at 17:30 Moscow time. After the ceremony the flame will be put in a lampion and sent to the Russian Winter Olympic and Paralympic capital Sochi.
All in all 120 people will carry the torch across Moscow. These will be renowned athletes, veterans of sports, staffers from Paralympic sports organizations, wheelchair athletes, coaches and teachers.
The torch-bearing team will include among others actors and co-founders of Podari Zhizn (Grant Life) Foundation Chulpan Khamatova and Dina Korzun, actor and TV anchorwoman Evelina Blyodans, wheelchair user Alexander Lomakin-Rumyantsev, singer and composer Dmitry Malikov, biathlete and four-time winner of Paralympic Games Vladimir Kiselyov, singer and Sochi 2014 ambassador Diana Gurtskaya.
The 21-kilometer long Moscow lap will go through historical and cultural sites of Moscow. The relay race route will be barrier-free. As many as 270 volunteers will be involved in the Moscow leg of the Paralympic Flame relay.