Diary of Zhang Hongyi, a Chinese teenager's torch relay memory at the 2018 Asian Games

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I only ran for 400 meters, but in actual fact it felt far more longer than that. From another perspective, the five minutes of my life in which I held the torch seemed so short that I really wished that it could have been longer!

JAKARTA, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The 18th Asian Games is halfway on its 15-day competitions, with China leading the gold medal tally 72-34-25 over both Japan and South Korea as of Sunday, Aug. 25.

Our schedule on August 15th began at 5:400am, when staff gathered all the torchbearers in the hotel lobby. We soon arrived at a local plaza where the local Asian Games staff held an opening ceremony to mark a new day in the torch relay. After a series of beautiful songs from the Indonesian children sitting around the plaza, the local staff told us how to correctly hold the torch, as well as how to deal with any and all possible events that may happen - for instance, if the fire goes out, or if the torch is too low that the flames may set your hair alight!

Following is a diary of Zhang Hongyi, a Chinese teenager student who was selected as the only representative from China's nation-wide Scouts of Junior Journalists, and also one of the 400 Chinese from all walks of life to participate in the torch relay for the ongoing Jakarta Asiad:

For me, the chance of participating in the torch relay at the 2018 Asian Games is really precious, since I had never imagined that I would be able to do so at the age of just 15. Furthermore, I really experienced the Asian Games' spirit, of being a huge platform to promote multicultural communication, where people who are from different countries and regions, and who speak different languages and with different religious beliefs are able to get to know and respect each other. Everyone here is a member of the huge global family. And that's what I liked most about the Asian Games.

Finally it was my turn to carry the torch. Until the moment I actually picked up the torch, everything seemed so unreal for me, as the torch was much heavier than I had imagined, and the fire at the top felt even more ferocious. I could clearly feel the hot air around my head. However, the only figures I saw were a staff member preventing me from running too fast, and a car driving just in front of me, carrying many cameramen. As a 15 year-old, I had never been the center of so many people before, especially when they were all cheering and filming me. I felt as if I had been lifted by their passion and enthusiasm, so much so that I still feel that my torch experience was somehow unreal.

In fact, I hadn't expected that we would be waiting so long on the bus carrying the torchbearers. Thanks to severe traffic jams partially caused by so many people on the streets, the bus moved extremely slow. We literally spent one hour just to reach the starting point of our run, and waited another hour before we finally dropped off the first torchbearer. Our bus would drive a certain distance to reach the next torchbearer point and drop another one off.

The torch experience also clarified my future life goal, which is to learn English to the best of my ability, study other cultures that I'm not familiar with, and become a messenger and ambassador of transnational communications. This is my every expectation that I'll be able to contribute my own efforts to help ensure global harmony and peace.

I joined a program initiated in May by Chinese sports channel CCTV5, whose main purpose is to train teenage journalists to become top sports reporters in 10 years' time. More than 1,000 teenagers from all over China signed up at first, of whom 400 were selected to join the Scouts of Junior Journalists program. Luckily, I was one of them. As one of the 20 journalists who successfully graduated after two months, I experienced mock interviews, real competition reporting practice, and many other challenges and tests, before eventually emerging as the best representative of the Scouts of Junior Journalists to bear the torch.

So that ends my experience of torch relaying.

One detail I particularly remember is when we were walking through the surrounding crowds after the opening ceremony, and everyone was reaching out for high-fives and handshakes. As I responded to some of them, I could feel the warmth coming from their hands. One of my fellow torchbearers said she had never experienced such welcoming people before.

It has already been 10 days since my exciting experience in the torch relay on August 15th, 2018. Nevertheless, the memory and the feelings are still buzzing around my head, reminding me of my unforgettable journey in Jakarta, Indonesia. 400 torchbearers, selected from regions all over China, took part in the torch relay, and I'm so thankful to have been one of them.

Afterwards, I became aware that Indonesia was not initially supposed to host the 2018 Asian Games, but had taken on the responsibility in a very short period of time. Despite this rushed preparation, I could feel that Jakarta was very well prepared and the Indonesian people were very welcoming and passionate.

First of all, let me explain how I ended up in the Asian Games torch relay.

When it was my turn, four journalists from CCTV5 were with me, preparing to film me carrying the torch and record the experience. As soon as I got off the bus, I was struck by a cacophony of sound, including drum beats, cheering, camera shutters, and much more. Then I found that there were four huge drums just behind me, making such a huge noise. All of this was just crazy! After waiting at my spot for a few minutes, I saw the previous bearer running towards me.