Sorong, W Papua, (ANTARA News) -- Locals in Sorong, West Papua warmly welcomed the Asian Games torch relay as it passed through the province, Antara observed on Friday.

The Minister of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration, Eko Putro Sandjojo, led the torch relay on Friday, which started at the Main Naval Base XIV Sorong and finished at the Sorong Mayor`s Office. The torch relay was held in the city of Waisai in Raja Ampat sub-district, West Java province the previous day.

A light rain fell during the event, but it did not discourage the runners and athletes, which consisted of military personnel and members of the Sorong police force as well as the minister himself, from finishing the run.

Citizens cheered for Eko and welcomed him with West Papuan traditional dances as he ran the relay.

"I saw for myself how enthusiastic the people were and it was really contagious, which is why I ended up joining the run," he said after lighting up the Asian Games flame at the Sorong Mayor`s Office.

He expressed hope that the Asian Games torch relay will awaken the Indonesian athletes` spirit of togetherness and encourage them to aim for victory, to help the country finish in the top ten in the quadrennial event.