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Sidelights on Shenzhen Universiade 2011 Torch Relay at PKU

MAY . 11 2011

Peking University, May 9, 2011: May 4, 2011 marked both the 113th anniversary of Peking University (PKU) and 100-day countdown to the opening of the 26th World University Games. PKU faculty, staff members and students took part in a ceremony to mark the start of torch relay, sending their best wishes to both PKU and the Universiade 2011. 



Warm up performances by the students enlivened up the plaza in front of PKU Hall, with programs included such as a recitation of the poem A Choice with No Regret , hip-hop, aerobics, among others. One of the highlights was that the Universiade 2011 theme song was sung in English by a PKU Chinese student, and also in Chinese by two overseas students from the School of Chinese as a Second Language.



Altogether 54 torchbearers, including 11 PKU teachers and students as well as one PKU alumnus, participated in the campus relay with the Rainbow of Torches .The total route length was 3.1 km, covering PKU Hall, the Chinese Rejuvenation Stele, the West Gate, Boya Tower, Cai Yuanpei’s statue, Li Dazhao’s statue, and other symbolic sites that have borne witness to the university’s 113 years history .
At 10.20 am, during the theme song, the torch relay began. Xing Yan’an, a graduate student in Grade 2008 of PKU Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, was the first torch bearer. “I'm quite nervous ”, Xing said. He ran the 4×100m relay in the Olympic Games, and is now among the most competitive Chinese men’s 110m hurdlers.
Professor Hai Wen, PKU vice president and dean of PKU Shenzhen Graduate School, took over the torch from the second torch bearer in front of the Old building of Guanghua School of Management (GSM). He said it was of unique significance for him to join the torch relay as a representative of staff and students from both PKU and Shenzhen Graduate School. “I really want to go back to my college days”. Hai described the Universiade as an important gathering for the students.
Professor Liu Wei, another vice president of PKU, carried the Rainbow to the West Gate. “As President Cai Yuanpei said, physical education is the best way to build character”, Liu pointed out. He showed a passion for sports, as well as his excitement to cheer for PKU and the Universiade as a torch bearer. He also mentioned the profound significance of holding the torch relay at PKU, as the university has always been closely associated with the Chinese nation’s advances in the modern history.
Ma Qingyuan, a graduate student from the Department of History, carries the torch and walked slowly on his artificial limb in front of the Old Dixue Building. He wished all the participating students would show their best during the Universiade.
Winnie, a GSM exchange student from UK and the only foreign torchbearer told the press that she felt very fortunate to serve as a torch bearer in the distinguished gathering before leaving Beijing in July.
Other PKU torch bearers were Wang Qining, assistant professor from the College of Engineering; Gao Ming, a GSM graduate student; Fan Jingyi, an undergraduate student from the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences; Zhao Xue and Chang Pengben, undergraduate students from the School of Government.
Along with the torch bearers, 10 escort runners also completed the torch relay route. Wearing blue and white uniforms , they were responsible for providing support for torch bearers – especially the disabled – and help them complete the relay if necessary. The 10 escort runners were selected from PKU staff, student athletes, international students from the US and Sweden, as well as security guards.
There were also volunteers in positions two hours prior to the launching ceremony. They received special training from PKU Youth Volunteers Association to assist the press and foreign guests.


Extended Reading:

World University Games torch relay kicks off

Stories behind Universiade torch relay ceremony


Written by: Gong Ting
Edited by: Arthars
PKU News (Chinese)