Torch relay might be shortened in Sichuan
The Olympic torch relay in the earthquake-battered Sichuan province of China might be shortened, as the organisers are mulling striking off the cities badly hit by the temblor from the schedule.
Mianyang, Guanghan and Dujiangyan provinces might not be covered by the relay, which will now tour the province just days before the Olympics opening ceremony, state media said.
Organisers of the Olympics had earlier suspended the torch relay during the three-day national mourning period in memory of the quake victims last week.
"The torch relay will tour Guang'an, Leshan, Zigong, Yibin and Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province, from August three to five and Mianyang, Guanghan and Dujiangyan might be cancelled," Sichuan torch relay chief Zhu Ling was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua.
The Olympics are scheduled to begin on August eight.
The torch relay has faced a number of hurdles since it commenced in April, with interruptions by pro-Tibetan protestors marring its London, Paris and San Francisco legs.
The death toll in the worst ever disaster in three decades rose to 68,977 on Saturday, the Information Office of the State Council or the cabinet said.