Sydney, April 8: Two Chinese “flame attendants" will escort the Olympic torch when it tours Canberra later this month. Australian Capital Territory (ACT) authorities were quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that the Chinese officials, dressed in blue and white tracksuits, would accompany the torch during its movement through Australia.
CT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said there would be just two Beijing Olympic Organising Committee (BOCOG) flame attendants when the torch toured Canberra on April 24. Stanhope said the proposed Canberra route was being reassessed in light of chaotic scenes in Paris and London when angry pro-Tibetan protests disrupted the relay. I haven't slipped to that level of despair yet. I haven't got to the point of despairing that the relay won't be a wonderful celebration of the Olympic games, the Olympic spirit," he was quoted as telling ABC Radio.
Five Australian of the Year winners as well as sporting and community identities will carry the torch through Canberra. Mr Stanhope says organisers of the Canberra leg were reviewing security arrangements.
Stanhope said he did not expect a blow out in the overall cost for the day - 900,000 dollars, which is being shared equally with the Commonwealth.
There would be a very significant police presence on the day of the relay, but it may not require a wide cordon to keep protesters away.
Both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his Deputy Julia Gillard have said they will not be available to greet China's Olympic torch when it arrives in Australia. Gillard said Sport Minister Kate Ellis would greet the torch.