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09/05/24 | 10:51 am

Paris Olympics: President Macron visits Paris 2024 sailing venue in Marseille

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Paris 2024 sailing venue on Wednesday (May 8). Macron was in Marseille for the arrival of the Olympic flame by boat from Greece.

The Olympic flame arrived amid tight security, firing the starting gun on a summer extravaganza of sport that President Emmanuel Macron hopes will showcase the splendours of France and burnish his legacy.

The flame arrived in Marseille, a port city in southern France founded by Greek merchants, after a 12-day trip from Greece onboard the Belem, a 128-year-old three-masted tall ship that once transported sugar from France’s colonies in the West Indies to the metropole.

The torch was brought to land by Florent Manaudou, France’s 2012 Olympic men’s 50 meters freestyle swimming champion, who handed it to Paralympic athlete Nantenin Keita, a 400 meters gold medallist at the Rio Games in 2016.

She then passed it on to Marseille-born rapper Jul, who lit the cauldron in front of an ecstatic crowd estimated at 150,000.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on French TV the country’s security forces were ready to face the “huge security issue” of hosting the Olympic Games.

“This unity is our strength, it is the spirit of the Games and that is also why we wanted this Olympic truce around the Olympic and Paralympic Games. And that will be the diplomatic initiative that we will deploy for the Games for Peace,” Macron said.

Some 7,000 law enforcement officers including snipers and dog units secured Marseille’s Old Port as an estimated 150,000 people watched the torch being brought onto dry land, a stress test for the Paris 2024 organisers with France on its highest state of security alert against a complex geopolitical backdrop.

From Marseille, the torch will continue on an 11-week odyssey that will see it criss-cross France and visit French overseas territories in the Caribbean as well as the Indian and Pacific oceans.

(Reuters)

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