The Flame of the 2nd Winter Children of Asia International Sports Games 2023 was ignited in Yakutia

The ceremony of igniting the flame of the 2nd Winter Children of Asia International Sports Games traditionally took place on the territory of national park ‘the Lena Pillars’ in Yakutia, the place where Games originated. The torch relay will start on 22 January in Yakutsk. Then on 24 January the flame will be transported to Kuzbass which will host Games in 2023.

«We took a decision to declare 2023 the Children’s Year in Kuzbass. This year will symbolically start with a great event - Children of Asia International Sports Games. Many participants will get a chance to make progress in their further sport and personal achievements. More than thousand guests - sportsmen and their coaches and relatives, spectators - will come to Kuzbass. I am sure they will highly appreciate our hospitality and sport venues which were prepared for the Games. The ceremony of igniting the flame for the torch relay is a very important event. It shows the dedication to the traditions in the sports arena and symbolizes unity and friendship», — The Governor of Kuzbass Sergey Tsivilev said.

The President and panel members of the Children of Asia Games International Committee, the leaders of the Organising Committee, Olympic Games Committee in Russia as well as the leaders of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) took part in the ceremony.

"We are sincerely proud that the Children of Asia Games have become Yakutia's contribution to the development of the modern Olympic movement. Children of Asia became the first start to the sports tops for young athletes from dozens of countries of the world. The participants of Children of Asia Games were prominent athletes of Yakutia — Georgy Balakshin, bronze medalist of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing; Leonid Spiridonov, participant of two Olympic Games, Minister of Physical Culture and Sports of the republic; Gavril Kolesov, twelve—time world champion, senior coach of the national draughts team of the republic, and many others", said Yakutia’s leader Aisen Nikolayev.

A ritual and ceremonial part took place in a sacred place for the Yakuts: an elder lit a fire with stones from Lena pillars. He consecrated and blessed the fire, and handed it to the child as a sign of purity of soul and thoughts.

«The ceremony of flame igniting is a significant part of the Games, its first step. The moment of igniting can be considered the beginning of Games. Igniting the flame is done with deep respect to traditions of the Sakha people and the area they live at, the area where the Games originated», — said Vladimir Maksimov, President of the Children of Asia Games International Committee.

The welcoming speech of Stanislav Pozdnyakov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee, was recited by Igor Stepanov, Deputy General Director of the Olympic Committee. He welcomed the guests, torch-bearers and participants of the ceremony.

“the Russian Olympic Committee provided full assistance to the Games Organizing Committee for support from the IOC (International Olympic Committee), becoming one of the founders of these wonderful competitions. Since then, the project has been developing rapidly and successfully. Not only the format of the competition is expanding, but also the geography of participants is enlarged. We are very glad that our friends from the Republic of Belarus will compete for the first time this year. I am sure that young, but already ambitious Belarusian athletes will add not only entertainment to the competition, but also increase competition", the Russian Olympic Committee reported.

The torch relay will start tomorrow, 22 January, in Yakutsk. Then on 24 January the flame will be transported to Kuzbass. The torch relay will take place in all municipalities where the Games are going to be organized - in Kemerovo, Novokuznetsk, Mezhdurechensk and Tashtagol. It will be finished on 25 February 2023 with the opening ceremony of the 2nd Winter Children of Asia International Sports Games in the Ice Palace in Kemerovo.