Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yunnan beauty lifts Asian Games flame with style and grace

Kang Chenchen holds up the 16th Asian Games torch in a traditional sun-ray ceremony at the Juyongguan Pass of the Great Wall in Beijing on October 9. Photo: Xinhua
By Liu Meng
The student who lit the upcoming 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games flame at the Great Wall last week has told the Global Times she was terrified the torch may not catch light.
Kang Chenchen, 22, a female senior in vocal music at Yunnan Arts University, shared details of her memorable moment, and about her panic when she feared her well-rehearsed routine may all go wrong.
Kang was one of the three candidates chosen to light the torch for the games at the Juyongguan Pass of the Great Wall in Beijing on the morning of October 9. A week after the experience, and she still gets excited when talking about her role in the ceremony.
Grace under pressure
Kang said rehearsals for the process of lighting the torch went well, but on the day it did not go so smoothly.
"Everything went well before I had to stoop in front of the concave mirror to collect the flame from the reflection of the sun," she said.
"During rehearsals a day before, I was able to see the torch catch ablaze within about a minute. But this time it took over two minutes for it to ignite. I was worried," she added.
Kang said all around her seemed completely silent and she could hear her own heartbeat.
"I kept the smile on my face. When the torch finally caught fire, I wanted to cry," she added.
Kang explained that during the rehearsals, she had been assigned to crouch down on the left side of the concave mirror, with the sun coming from her upper left.
But on the day of formal ceremony, the director requested she sit on the right side. This then meant the torch blocked some of the sun's rays and she was also unable to see what was happening with the mirror.
"It was very unexpected and I had to just judge what was happening using my senses. Thank God the torch lit up in the end."
The ceremony featured 17 girls dressed in white walking gracefully down across the Great Wall.
Kang revealed the well executed performance required days of practice, even at home.
She first began practicing in September, in order to master the natural pace of the walk and the required polished movements. 
"I practiced by walking down the stairs at our apartment. I had to keep my eyes to the right and forward without falling over. I wore a pair of seven-centimeter-high-heel shoes and walked from the 14th floor to the first, and then took the elevator back up. Then I would do it again, five times like this every day," she said.
In rehearsals at the Great Wall, Kang didn't make a single mistake in 10 trial runs along the uneven surface.
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