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Friday, June 14, 2024

Olympic flame makes a dramatic arrival

London: The Olympic flame makes a dramatic arrival in London on Friday to tour the capital before it plays a starring role in the opening ceremony in one week’s time.A Royal Marine commando will abseil from a helicopter with the flame before it spends the night safely housed in the Tower of London, where Queen Elizabeth II keeps her ceremonial jewels.The 8,000-mile (12,800-kilometre) relay culminates in the capital after snaking around Britain and visiting the Republic of Ireland.Before it reached the capital, police arrested a 17-year-old man after he tried to grab the torch from a female torchbearer while it passed through Gravesend, a town southeast of London.The teenager sprinted out of the crowd toward the torchbearer and was grabbed by the security officers accompanying the torch.The torch was to stop in Guildford just south of London before being flown by helicopter into London. It will begin its tour of the capital in Greenwich on Saturday.In another step closer to next Friday’s opening ceremony, the Olympic flag was hoisted above the Downing Street residence of Prime Minister David Cameron.Preparations for the Games have been dogged by concerns over security after a firm supplying private guards for venues said it could not supply all of the 10,000 it had promised.But chief organiser Sebastian Coe insisted security would not be compromised, as the government had drafted in 3,500 extra troops to cover the shortfall by security giant G4S, with another 1,200 on standby.”This is not an issue that has remotely compromised security. This was actually about the supply and the mix, it’s never been about the numbers,” Coe said.Coe however got into a testy exchange with an interviewer about criticisms of the organisers’ approach to protecting sponsors’ rights. AFP


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