Emotions high as Olympic torch scales Everest

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The Olympic flame reached the top of Mount Everest on Thursday, an emotional moment for China and the crowning of the Beijing Olympics torch relay that was dogged by anti-Chinese protests on its world tour.

''Long live Tibet!'' and ''Long live Beijing!'', the climbers, all wearing red, shouted joyously into a TV camera after unfurling the Chinese national flag, the Olympic flag and a flag bearing the Beijing Olympic logo.

''Beijing welcomes you!'' and ''tashi delek'', they added using a Tibetan greeting meaning ''may everything be well'' – after escorting the flame in a mini-relay to the 8,848-metre peak at the end of a six-hour climb.

Climbers, officials and a small team of journalists had to endure thin air at the high altitude, sub-freezing temperatures and basic sanitation, but enjoyed one of the world's finest views for days before a gap in the weather allowed the final ascent.

Five climbers, two of them women, staged the relay just shy of the peak amid strong winds and minus-30-degree temperatures.

The Everest climbing team, which included 22 Tibetans, eight Han Chinese and one man from the Tujia minority, had been on the mountain for more than a week preparing the route along the north-east ridge.

''All the ethnicities of the Tibet Autonomous Region are very proud,'' said Wu Yingjie, executive vice chairman of the region. ''The Tibetan ethnicity in particular has made great devotions to the big event.''

The Everest flame will be reunited with the main flame later in the relay, possibly when it passes through Lhasa in mid-June.

Source: By DDNEWS

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