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Olmypic Torch Carried By a Chess Player

Chess Player Carries the Olympic Torch


One of the stations of the voyage of the Olympic Torch for the Olmypiads in Beijing 2008 was İstanbul, Turkey. The Olmypic torch relay took place in İstanbul on April 3. One of the eighty carriers (among which there were many important personalities) was a chess player none other than Kübra Öztürk, two-time European Under 16 Champion, who has been receiving a considerable media attention in Turkey. See the details below.

Olympic Torch Carried by a Chess Player for the First Time


Left: First carrier of the torch Tuğba Karademir Right: Last carrier lighting the cauldron, Taner Sağır, weightlifting Olympic Champion at 77 kg

Turkey’s largest city, which recently hosted the Beijing Olympic torch relay. First of all, a ship sailed across Bosphorus. The opening ceremony of the relay was at Sultanahmet Square, which is in the middle of the center of Old City, Hagia Sophia Mosque and Sultan Ahmet Mosque, two landmarks of historical part of the city.


Left: The convot Right: Kübra Öztürk lighting the next torch

Sports Minister Murat Başesgioğlu, Turkish Olympic Committee President Togay Bayatlı, Governor of İstanbul Muammer Güler and Mayor of İstanbul Kadir Topbaş attended the start of the relay. Togay Bayatlı gave the Olympic flame to the 23-year old ice-skater (the first figure skater from Turkey in 2006 to compete in the Olympic Winter games) Tuğba Karademir and the last carrier of the torch was the Olympic champion in weightlifting Taner Sağır. Among the 80 carriers of the torch there were personalities such as Hakan Şükür (probably the most renowned footballer of Turkey, captain of Galatasaray), Semih Şentürk (the forward of Fenerbahçe soccer team who recently defeated Chelsea in Champions League quarter final match) and many other well-known sports personalities. A chess player was also among them, actually, she was the first chess player ever to participate the Olympic Torch Relay.

The route of the torch in İstanbul.

Kübra Öztürk, two-time European under 16 champion became a sports celebrity in Turkey. She was chosen to be a carrier of the Olympic Torch. 

Kübra is already a familiar name for you since she was reported quite a few times as she was nominated to the “Best Sportswoman of the Year” award in her country organized by a newspaper. ( & )

The torch was carried from Sultanahmet Square to the newer parts of the European side of İstanbul, to Ortaköy, one of the famous sites in İstanbul, right under the Bosphorus Bridge.

Next, the torch passed across the Bosphorus via ship to reach Beylerbeyi, a district in Asian part of İstanbul. The last part of the route of the relay was from Beylerbeyi to the Bosphorus Bridge then headed to Taksim Square, the final destination where the ceremonial cauldron was waiting to be lit. The total length of the route in İstanbul was about 25-30 kms.

It is the second time that İstanbul hosted the Olympic torch relay.

Kübra Öztürk carried the torch in the last section at the district called Osmanbey.

You can see the route of the torch relay and the place where Kübra carried the map from map above.

The route of the torch relay is determined according to the Silk Road. The torch was lit for the 2008 Olympic Games for the first time in Olimpia of Greece on March 25, 2008. Then the next stage of the voyage was Almaty in Kazakhstan and the third host city was İstanbul. The relay of the torch symbolizes peace, friendship and respect to the entire world. It will reach Beijing, the host of Summer Olympics 2008 after its voyage covering five continents on 130 days. The entire length of the voyage of the torch is 137,000 km and there are 22,000 voluntary carriers of the torch. “Light the Fire, Share the Dream” is the motto of this year’s relay while this year’s theme is “Journey of the Harmony”. The torch is not affected by water so even when it is raining or snowing the torch continues to show its magnificent fire, which is lit by a special safety lantern which is also carried throughout the voyage of the relay.

The Olympic torch is ignited some months before the opening celebration of the Olympic Games in Greece, Olympia where the ancient Olympics were held. In every city hosting the relay on the way there is a cauldron to be lit which is like a model of the actual ceremony of the Olympic Flame which is going to be held in Beijing this year. The modern day ritual of the wandering torch first began in 1936 Summer Olympics, in Berlin, Germany. 

Official web site of Beijing 2008

Official web site of International Olympic Committee (IOC)