|Southeast Asian best 400m runner Nguyễn Thị Huyền will be honoured to hold the SEA Games torch when it is in Hà Nội on March 24, part of its regional tour ahead of the Games opening ceremony. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games torch will be carried around Hà Nội, the first stop in its tour of 10 ASEAN countries, on March 24.
The torch, escorted by nine members of the Cambodian delegation, arrived in the capital city on March 22, and was warmly welcomed by leaders of the Việt Nam Sports Administration.
The torch is 75cm tall and weighs 1kg. It is designed following the shape of the Romdoul, Cambodia's national flower.
The torch relay stands for solidarity, friendship, and good cooperation among nations in the region.
Earlier, King Norodom Sihamoni presided over a torch lighting ceremony on March 21 at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, marking the start of the torch relay.
|Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni (2nd right) lights the torch with a candle lit from the sun's rays as Prime Minister Hun Sen (right) looks on during a ceremony prior to the 32nd SEA Games at Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap on March 21. AFP/VNA Photo|
This year, the SEA Games flame was ignited by the rays of the sun on the roof of the sacred temple. The ceremony was timed to coincide with the equinox, when the sun crossed the plane of the earth's equator and day and night are of equal length. At that time the sun rose exactly on the top of the main temple of Angkor Wat. And the flame was lit up and was considered a sacred fire.
King Sihamoni then passed the torch to nine well-known Cambodian athletes, including two SEA Games gold medalists, to run around the temple area before it travelled to Việt Nam the next day.
Speaking about the event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Tourism and Special Envoy of the Cambodian SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games Organising Committees Hor Sarun said it was the first time that the kingdom hosted the regional sports meet. Apart from the competition, the torch relay was an indispensable part of the Games.
He said Cambodia especially cared about the torch relay organisation sending the torch to all 10 countries with a view to widely popularise the 32nd SEA Games to all people.
|The sacred flame is kept at the Cambodian Embassy in Hà Nội before it travels around the city. Photo courtesy of Khem Sovannra|
In Hà Nội, the relay will be kicked off at 9am. National runner Nguyễn Thị Huyền will take the honour to hold the torch, escorted by 10 other outstanding athletes and hundreds of other people and guests. The delegation will start from the Cambodian Embassy and go through different streets in Hà Nội before returning to the embassy.
The next stop of the torch will be the Philippines, followed by Brunei, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar and Laos, before returning to Cambodia on April 27.
The SEA Games will be held on May 5-17 in four localities with opening and closing ceremonies at the Morodok Techo Stadium in Phnom Penh. It will be followed by the 12th ASEAN Para Games on June 3-9. VNS