IOC to discuss scrapping torch relays

Olympic chiefs will this week discuss scrapping international torch relays for future Games, following protests that have disrupted the run-up to the Beijing event, officials said Tuesday.


The International Olympic Committee executive board will review the future of international legs of the torch relays at its three-day meeting in Beijing that begins on Thursday, Kevan Gosper, a member of the board, told reporters.


Asked whether planning for future torch relays would come up, Gosper said: "I would expect that the executive committee will review that."


He said talks would focus on whether the relays should be limited to the country where the Olympics are to be held, rather than a journey around the world.


However there was no suggestion that the IOC chiefs would discuss scrapping the current torch relay for the August Beijing Games.


"My belief is the torch relay will stay on course," Gosper said.


"There might be adjustments, but I think it would be wrong, actually, to try and do anything more than try to get the torch through to its ultimate destination."


The Beijing Olympic organisers also vowed on Tuesday that the torch relay would continue as planned.


On Monday, the Olympic flame relay was cut short in Paris due to constant disruptions by hundreds of campaigners protesting over China's controversial rule of Tibet and a range of other human rights issues.


Widespread protests also disrupted the previous day's leg in London, while activists have promised more of the same in San Francisco for the next leg on Wednesday.


Exiled Tibetan leaders say more than 150 people have been killed in nearly a month of unrest in Tibet and other areas of China. Tibetans are protesting at what they say is nearly six decades of repression under Chinese rule.


China insists its security forces have killed no one while trying to quell the protests. It says Tibetan "rioters" killed 20 people. (AFP)