LAST_UPDATESun, 24 Jun 2018 3pm

Pyeongchang Olympics Torch Arrives In Seoul

SEOUL -- The torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games arrived in Seoul on Saturday for a four-day relay event throughout the capital city, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

The torch relay will be held in the city until Tuesday in a course that spans 103 kilometres, with some 600 torchbearers joining the race, according to officials at the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

It marks the first time in nearly 30 years for the capital city to hold a torch relay event since the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul.

The 2018 Winter Games will kick off in PyeongChang, which lies 180 kilometres east of Seoul in Gangwon Province, on Feb 9.

Seoul's torch relay began at the Digital Magic Space in Sangam-dong at 8.35 am, when the first bearer, freestyle skier Park Hee-jin, showed up amid a festive mood uplifted by drum beats and cheers from ordinary citizens.

The Olympic torch carries the flame that was lit at the Temple of Hera in Greece in October, which arrived in South Korea in November. It then toured major cities across the country, including Jeju, Busan, Gwangju, Daejeon and Incheon, before arriving in Seoul.

During Sunday's relay, the torch will reach Seoul Olympic Stadium, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games. Some past and current Olympians will have the honour of carrying the Olympic flame that day, according to the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC).

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said the city will focus efforts on promoting the upcoming Winter Games in the country.

After leaving Seoul, the torch will travel to the northern parts of Gyeonggi Province and head towards the host city of the Winter Games. The combined distance travelled by the torch will reach 2,018 kilometres, carried by around 7,500 torchbearers. The Olympics will run from Feb 9-25.