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Olympic flame reaches Everest summit

Source: PTI
May 08, 2008 09:43 IST
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The Beijing Olympic flame reached the summit of Mount Everest on Thursday morning, marking high point of the torch relay.

The mountaineers celebrated the event at the 8,844 metre peak, the highest in the world, holding Chinese national flag, one of Beijing Olympics and another with Olympic's five-rings.

A 19-member squad, seven of them in the back-up group, had set out late Wednesday night for the summit in what was described as a 'final assault' for the mission by a senior official.

Chinese authorities had on Wednesday said that they made the decision for Thursday's ascent on the basis of weather situation and the team's physical conditions.

The Olympic torch has had a disturbed global run as it was marred by protests by pro-Tibetan activists. It returned to the Chinese mainland last week and is now being carried through different cities.

The mountaineers made the trek up the mountain, with the 30-metre relay starting with a female member of the squad as the first bearer after the torch was ignited.

The climbers started the final assault at the worlds highest peak from the 'Attack Camp' located at 8,300 metres above sea level at 3 am local time (2330 IST) and the flame reached the summit at 9.18 am (0548 IST).

The mountaineers were woken up by a folk song at 1.30 am and prayed in a ritual at 2 am before they set out for the most ambitious feat of the Games, official Xinhua news agency said.

The flame carried to Mt Everest is a separate one from the main torch that is being paraded across China.

It will be reunited with the main flame later in the relay.

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