A cross country skier born in Xinjiang was one of two final torchbearers who ended the Olympic opening ceremony by sending a flame into the sky on a giant snowflake.

Dinigeer Yilamujiang, from Altay, Xinjiang, and Zhao Jiawen, a 21-year-old biathlete, delivered the flame.

Yilamujiang, 21, is the first Chinese cross-country skiing medallist at any FIS-level event and is a medal hopeful in a sport in which China has not traditionally excelled.

The selection of Yilamujiang as a final torchbearer came as many western nations diplomatically boycotted the Winter Games over China’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. China denies human rights abuses.


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