JINGZHOU, Central China, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing Olympic torch relay started its Jingzhou leg on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River on Monday, the last segment in central China's Hubei province.
The 18.6-kilometer relay of 208 torchbearers kicked off at 8:13 a.m. at the Golden Phoenix Square and will pass through the Ancient Jingzhou Town and end at Shalongda Square.
Zheng Lihui, who claimed a men's gymnastics team gold at Sydney Olympics, opened the relay as the first torchbearer. As the No. 3 torchbearer, the Greek ambassador to China Michael Cambanis delivered the flame on the Nine Dragon Bridge of the city.
The torch carriers also include world weightlifting champion Guan Hong and Chinese actress Zeng Li.
At the launching ceremony, the torchbearers and spectators observed a minute of silence to the victims of the 8.0-magnitude earthquake which struck southwestern China's Sichuan Province on May 12.
Jingzhou is one of the first 24 historic cities of cultural significance selected by the State Council and also the cradle of Chu culture of ancient China.
As a transportation hub and distribution center of commodities since ancient times, the city has become a strategic place of military importance in Chinese history.
Jinzhou is a city with deep cultural deposits and rich historical legends. When in Jinzhou, you may hear about many famous stories happened in the period of Three Kingdoms, such as, “Liubei borrowing Jinzhou”, “Guanyu losing Jinzhou because of his carelessness”. And those stories make Jinzhou more famous.
See detailed introduction of this city, please visit: http://www.chinatravel.com/hubei/jingzhou/