The Beijing Olympic flame arrived in Russia's second biggest city early Friday morning to start the third leg of an unprecedented global torch relay.
The Olympic flame, carried in a specially-designed lantern, was flied into St. Petersburg onboard a chartered plane from Turkey's largest city Istanbul.
The Olympic torch relay in St. Petersburg will start on Saturday morning from the Victory Square in the center of the city and covers 20.4 kilometers. Each of the 80 torch bearers is going to run 250 meters. The end of the race is the Hermitage Square where a ceremony is to be held , Xinhua reports.
St. Petersburg ’s Vice-Governor Sergei Tarasov took the lamp with the Olympic flame from the hands of the delegation’s deputy head.
The delegation official said they had looked forward to visiting the city famous for its rich history and traditions. Russia is a native land of prominent sportsmen who will be welcomed with pleasure in Beijing at the Olympic Games, he said. The official wished them success at the games.
All the 80 Russian Olympic torch carriers this Friday will receive uniform and special instructions to start the next day from Victory Square. The relay will finish in the heart of St. Petersburg -- Palace Square. Before the relay beginning, the Olympic flame will be kept under strict watch in the Park Inn hotel (the former Pulkovskaya), ITAR-TASS reports.