Thursday, June 24, 2010

India's biggest sporting extravaganza rolls out

Get ready for India’s biggest sporting extravaganza. On Thursday, the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games 2010 unveiled the plans for the handover of the Queen’s Baton from the Pakistan Olympic Association.

From an elaborate cultural extravaganza that will see Pakistani singing icon Rahat Fateh Ali create a cultural fusion with Indian qawali stars, the Wadali brothers, to the handover of the baton to India’s sporting star and Olympic medalist Vijender Singh and woman boxing legend Mary Kom, the show promises to be a fitting curtain-raiser to the Delhi Games 2010 in October.

Talking about the handover of the baton, OC head Suresh Kalmadi said, “It is a matter of immense pride for the entire nation. The Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 Delhi will act as a great unifying force for the country. We have broken ground for more sportspersons (to participate) but most important, we are here at the Mecca of the Sikhs to receive the baton.” The enthusiasm of the state participants was more than apparent as a host of local dignitaries, including Navjot Singh Sidhu, turned out to welcome the unveiling of OC plans. The Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 will enter India from the Wagah Border on June 25, and will be handed over to the Indian Olympic Association president, Kalmadi. The baton will thereafter be handed down to CWG president Michael Fennell, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and several other senior government officials.

For sports enthusiasts though, it will be the handing over of the baton to India’s Olympic medalist, Vijender Singh, followed by Mary Kom that’s bound to raise spirits. The relay will officially be started by Singh and Kom. Speculation is rife that a sportstar from the Pakistan sporting arena will also be part of the show, and will help the Pakistan Olympic Association president hand over the baton.

After the handover on Friday, the baton will travel through over 100 cities, using various modes of transport. From Punjab, it will be travelling to J&K and onwards, before reaching Delhi on September 30.

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