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Greece hands over Olympic Flame to Beijing 2022 organizers****** Special representative and Vice-President of Beijing 2022 Yu Zaiqing (R) receives the torch with the Olympic Flame from President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos during the handover ceremony of the Olympic Flame for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece, Oct. 19, 2021. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)
ATHENS, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Olympic Flame for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games was handed over on Tuesday to the Chinese organizers in a ceremony held at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens.
At the marble venue of the first modern Olympics in 1896, Hellenic Olympic Committee President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Spyros Capralos passed the sacred flame to Yu Zaiqing, special representative and vice president of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee.
The Chinese delegation left the stadium with best wishes for the Olympic Winter Games from February 4 to 20 which will be followed by the Paralympics.
Greek Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis, Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis, IOC members and other Greek and foreign dignitaries attended Tuesday's event.
Several officials attended as well the lighting ceremony which was held on Monday at Ancient Olympia in western Greece, the birthplace of the Games centuries ago.
Both ceremonies were closed to spectators due to COVID-19 safety measures.
Inside the ancient stadium at Ancient Olympia where athletes once competed, a short symbolic torch relay was staged.
Former Chinese freestyle skiing aerials athlete Li Nina passed the flame to the last torchbearer on Greek soil, Paraskevi Ladopoulou, a Greek cross country and biathlon athlete, who lit the cauldron.
Capralos then received the flame from Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou acting as an ancient Greek High Priestess.
She was escorted by dancers in the roles of priestesses who performed a choreography.
"Both I, and all Greeks, wish you good luck at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. Your history, your culture, your traditions, your faith in values and your great love for sport, give us the assurance, that you will organize excellent Games next February. Just as you did in 2008, with the Summer Olympic Games," Capralos said, addressing the event before handing over the Flame to the Chinese hosts.
"Committed to a green, inclusive, open and clean approach to preparing and hosting the Games, we will deliver a simple, safe and splendid Games, which hopefully will help promote the Olympic Movement and the building of a global community of a shared future," Yu said in his speech.
At the end of the ceremony, the flame was transported to the Athens airport to head for Beijing, the first city ever to host both summer and winter Olympic Games. Enditem
Basque derby draw cuts Real Sociedad's lead, Atletico return to form in LaLiga******
MADRID, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Real Sociedad's lead at the top of LaLiga was reduced to one point after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to local rivals Athletic Club Bilbao in Sunday's Basque derby.。
An intense game between two evenly matched sides looked to be going Real Sociedad's way when Alexander Isak scored a 58th minute penalty after a foul on Mikel Merino.。
Athletic were reduced to 10 men in the 80th minute when defender Inigo Martinez was harshly sent off, but Iker Muniain saved a point with a free kick in injury time, which Real Sociedad keeper Alex Remiro should have done better with.。
Atletico Madrid returned to form after recent disappointing displays with a 3-0 win over Betis, who had started the weekend level on points at the top of the table.。
Yannick Carrasco's magnificent opening goal put Atletico ahead in the 26th minute, with an own goal from German Pezzella in the 63rd minute doubling their lead after he deflected Antoine Griezmann's cross into his own net.。
Joao Tomas rounded off another excellent display with Atletico's third goal with 10 minutes to play.。
On Saturday Sergi Barjuan's debut as FC Barcelona's caretaker coach ended in disappointment as his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Alaves.。
Memphis Depay put Barca ahead early in the second half with a curling shot, but Luis Rioja's quick reply meant a point each as Barca dominated but struggled to break down an organized visiting defense.。
Although Barca showed more aggression in attack than recent matches, the display was little better than those under the sacked former coach, Ronald Koeman while injuries to Kun Aguero, who was taken to hospital after suffering an irregular heartbeat, and Gerard Pique will further complicate Sergi's task.。
Two goals from Vinicius Jr helped Real Madrid to an unconvincing 2-1 win in Elche in which the Brazilian striker and Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtpis were the standout performers.。
Vinicius put Real Madrid in the 22nd minute and the game swung even more Madrid's way when Elche midfielder Raul Guti was sent off with half an hour left to play, before Vinicius looked to have sealed the win.。
A bad mistake from Casemiro allowed Pere Milla to pull a goal back for Elche in the 86th minute to give some emotion to the final moments of the game.。
Sevilla remain level on points with Real Madrid after their 2-0 home win against Osasuna in a wet Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, with goals from Diego Carlos and Lucas Ocampos ending Osasuna's unbeaten away record.。
Valencia ended a seven-game run without a win thanks to goals Hugo Guillamon's 43rd minute goal and Carlos Soler's 77th minute penalty.。
Villarreal controled the ball, but only had one shot on target all game as defense errors cost them dear.。
Alvaro Negredo's 93rd minute penalty saved a point for Cadiz at home to Mallorca, who had taken a first half lead through Iddrisu Baba and looked comfortable until Alexander Sedlar was sent off with just three minutes left to play.。
There was controversy in the game when Cadiz defender Iza was sent off for a terrible challenge on Mallorca's Dani Rodriguez, but the referee overturned his decision for a previous foul in Cadiz's favor with Mallorca coach Luis Garcia subsequently sent off for his protests.。
Finally, Getafe claimed their first win of the season thanks to two goals from striker Enes Unal gave them a 2-1 win at home to Espanyol. The Turkish striker scored in the 30th and 55th minutes while Sergi Gomez scored for Espanyol in a bad-tempered match which ended with 11 yellow cards.。
There are two games on Monday with Rayo Vallecano entertaining Celta Vigo, while Levante play at home to Granada. Enditem。
Irish president tests positive for COVID******
Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins have tested positive for COVID-19, said a statement from the Presidency of Ireland on Friday.
The statement said that both President and his wife displayed mild COVID-19 symptoms on Friday morning and have taken antigen tests which turned out positive.
They will be isolating for the next seven days, said the statement, adding that the president, while isolating, is continuing to work from home.