SPIRITS soared as hundreds of supporters from all walks of life cheered for the six swimmers who swam 3.5km across the sea bearing the Kuala Lumpur 2017 torch to mark the countdown to the 29th SEA Games and the 9th Asean Para Sport.
The swimmers, led by marine police Insp Adni Shaari, took nearly two hours to reach the marine police base in Batu Uban in Penang island after departing Pulau Jerejak at 7am yesterday.
Chants of “Bangkit Bersama” (Let’s Rise Together) were heard as the torch was passed to marine police commander ACP Rosman Ismail upon reaching the shores of Batu Uban.
Youth and Sports Ministry deputy secretary-general (management) Nik Abdul Kadir Nik Mohamad said it was a unique effort as it was the first time participants had swam across the sea with the torch.
The torch was then handed over to state federal development officer Syed Shaari Syed Abdullah, who led some 800 runners on a 11.5km run to the Youth and Sports Complex in Batu Uban.
The run was flagged off by Penang police chief Comm Datuk Wira Chuah Ghee Lye.
Among them was wheelchair-bound Teoh Liang Tze, 34, a member of Penang Disabled Persons Sports and Recreation Association (Pesron).
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hold the torch. It was amazing as everyone was in high spirits and I was a part of the event,” he said after the run.
The torch was then passed to Teluk Bahang assemblyman Datuk Shah Headan Hussain Ayoob Shah before being put on display at the complex.
Today, the run will kick off at SK Sungai Rusa to the Mara High Skills College Balik Pulau at 8am, and then from the Tabung Haji Bayan Lepas carpark to the Giant Hypermarket at 11am.
Tomorrow, the run will move to north Seberang Prai, starting at SMK Datuk Hj Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at 8am to central Seberang Prai.
Next, the torch will be taken from Pengkalan Tambang to Dewan Sri Mutiara Politeknik Seberang Prai at 1.30pm.
At the polytechnic, the public will be able to get a glimpse of the torch from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.
On Thursday, the run will take place at 8.30am from SMK Sungai Acheh in south Seberang Prai to Dewan Merdeka in Parit Buntar.
The torch will then be handed over to Perak Youth And Sports Committee chairman Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya at the hall at 10.30am by Penang Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman.
The torch will eventually be brought to the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur for the Games’ opening ceremony on Aug 19.