Chinese Woman, 103, Won't Be Torchbearer

A 103-year-old woman's bid to carry the torch for next year's Summer Olympics has been rejected, a state newspaper reported Saturday.

Chinese Woman, 103, Won't Be Torchbearer

Cao Zuozheng, said to have exercised for years to prepare for the role, had applied through her residential community to the local government office, which passes on qualified applications to a higher office.

"We appreciate Cao's wish. But in reality she won't be a torchbearer due to her health condition," Li Hua, director of the Jingshan sub-district office, told the China Daily.

Xiao Xinhua, the youngest of Cao's four children, said she had not told her mother of the decision because "it will be a shock to someone who has such a great passion for the Games."

Xiao said her mother started exercising in 2004 to become a torchbearer and that she had no health problems.

The torch relay will be the longest in Olympic history. The 85,132-mile, 130-day relay is scheduled to begin March 25. Organizers already have started recruiting the required 21,880 torch carriers, of which 19,400 will run in mainland China. Beijing is allocated 624 spots.

Li said her office received eight recommendations, but only one could be passed on to the higher body.

"The one we have finally chosen is a Beijing model worker," the newspaper quoted her as saying.

The newspaper said an 89-year-old man from the city of Chongqing in central China had already been selected as a torchbearer.

Associated Press

Last Mod: 01 Eylül 2007, 08:31
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