Greece hands over Olympic flame to Paris 2024 Games organisers during ceremony in Athens

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ATHENS (Greece) :  Greece on Friday officially handed over the Olympic flame to a delegation from the Paris 2024 Organising Committee during a symbolic ceremony held at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, the site where the modern Olympics were first opened in 1896.

The Summer Olympics will be held in Paris from July 26 to August 11 this year.

Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, received the Olympic torch in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.

The event, held at the iconic Panathenaic Stadium, marked the end of the 11-day Olympic Torch Relay through Greece and signalled the relay’s transition to France, which will begin on May 8 when the flame arrives in Marseille after a voyage across the Mediterranean aboard the Belem ship.

Following that, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos gave a moving speech in which he thanked his fellow citizens for the warm welcome the flame received during its national relay and sent his best wishes for France as the torch embarks on its “next journey.”

“Today, in a crowded Panathenaic stadium, a unique journey of hope and pride that has illuminated the whole of Greece from one end to the other comes to its end. And yet these 11 days that have captivated our country and captured the attention of the whole world are just the beginning of a great journey. That of the next Olympic Games in Paris 2024,” the Olympic’s official website quoted Capralos as saying.

“It is therefore with great joy and emotion that we all welcome the Olympic flame together here at the Panathenaic Stadium at the end of the torch relay on Greek soil, to hand it over to the Paris 2024 Organising Committee with a feeling of respect and solidarity, but also accompanied by our best wishes for the realisation of a unique event,” he added.

After thereafter, Tony Estanguet (FRA), the President of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee, gave a speech in which he expressed gratitude to the Greek people for organizing both the flame lighting and handover ceremonies, as well as to Papadakis and Hess, the two French torchbearers of the handover event.

“Thank you to the Hellenic Olympic Committee and its President, Spyros Capralos, for this magnificent start to the Olympic Torch Relay in Greece! During these eleven days across the country, we’ve already been able to see some very powerful images, and all the attachment the Greeks have for the flame. And now, what a proud and emotional moment it is to officially receive the Olympic flame at the handover ceremony! Estanguet said.

“A big thank you also to our champions Gabriella Papadakis and Beatrice Hess for being at our side to play this powerful and symbolic role as Forerunners of the Paris 2024 Torch Relay,” he added.

After crossing the Mediterranean, the Olympic flame will arrive on French soil in Marseille on 8 May. (ANI)

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