Olympic torch maker finally relaxes after intense exhaustion and excitement

Olympic Torch New Delhi, August 9 : Huang Qijun, the 45-year-old maker of the Xiangyun (lucky clouds) torch, actually heaved a sigh of relief when it lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday night.

He was the one who produced the safety lantern and community cauldrons used in every relay, and accompanied the torch from Greece to Beijing.

"I instantly felt relaxed. I was exhausted, but also excited. My job is done," the China Daily quoted him as saying during an interview, after the cauldron was ignited.

Throughout the torch’s journey from Greece to Beijing, Huang kept the lowest profile.

He, however, said: "In fact, I am the true torchbearer. Almost all torches used outside the mainland went through my hands one by one."

He revealed that his team conducted some 7,000 tests on the Xiangyun before its journey, which eventually helped the torch to stay lit 99.5 per cent of the time, far more than that in any previous Olympic relay.

Huang, however, felt that the way the cauldron was decided to be lit at first seemed "too terrifying" to him.

"I was shocked. The way the cauldron was lit was extremely risky. I don''t think (the designers) ever considered the possibility that the torch''s flame might go out," he said.

"Imagine the wind up there, dozens of meters up in the air. There was no contingency plan just one man hanging there! And yet, we had to be 100 percent sure, or the entire country would be embarrassed!" he added.

Huang never gave up. His team simulated the environment in and around the National Stadium, performed hundreds of tests, and beefed up the torch accordingly.

They also injected seven more grams of fuel into the last torchbearer''s torch, and adjusted the flame to 40 cm, slightly higher than normal.

"The loop around the Bird''s Nest took four minutes fifty seconds, and Xiangyun normally burns for 15 minutes. We added a bit more fuel to make sure it kept going," Huang said.

Huang could hardly get a full night’s sleep during the 33-day torch relay. (ANI)