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Flame of Hope lights up all the Special Olympics dreams

Siegfried “Sigi” Mayr (AUT/Europe) with the Olympic Flame. (Photo: GEPA pictures/ Harald Steiner)
by Pablo Martinez Dorado, AIPS Young Reporter, Spain

GRAZ, March 18, 2017 - After more than 10 days of relay-running through 49 cities the Flame of Hope is shining at last above the Planai Stadium in Schadming.

The Austrian cross-country skier Siegfried 'Sigi' Mayr, was the last guardian who lit the torch at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics in southern Austria.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) has come a long way. It was set alight on March 2 at the Zappeion Palace in Athens, Greece, following the Olympic tradition. On March 9 it was transferred to Bregenz (Austria) where the final leg was launched and on to the Opening Ceremony.

LETR was founded in 1981 and has become the main fundraisers for the Special Olympics. Its message is targeted at changing the future for people with intellectual disabilities and spreading both acceptance and inclusion.

The long road ended with a team of 129 from 24 countries carrying the main symbol of the Special Olympics in the final leg through Austria. Among them were 84 law enforcement runners and 27 logistic members, selected from all over the world.

Ten Special Olympic athletes chosen by their torch run programmes and includng the refugee and speed skater Mina Bhagat carried the Flame of Hope and are competing in this week's Games.

Follow Pablo on twitter @pablo41419

The Young Reporters Programme has been made possible thanks to the support of the European Union's Erasmus + programme

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