Thursday, June 24, 2010

Queen's Baton Relay for 2010 CWG to arrive in India on Friday

The city of Golden Temple is all geared up to welcome the Queen's Baton Relay's entry to India from Pakistan through Wagah-Attari border on Friday before it embarks on a 100-day national tour to culminate in New Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The QBR, which was launched by Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace in London on October 29 last year in the presence of Indian President Pratibha Patil, is nearing the end of its 190,000-kilometer journey covering 71 nations and territories across the world.

Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the CWG Organising Committee, will receive the baton from Pakistan Olympic Association President Lt Gen Syed Arif Hassan at the international border, where the Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell will also be present.

"Fennell will be arriving here specially to attend the programme, which will see the beginning of 20,000-kilometer journey touching all the states and union territories of the country," Kalmadi said at a press conference here today.

Four-time world boxing champion Mary Kom and Olympic bronze medallist pugilist Vijender Singh will be among the star sportspersons to attend the hand-over ceremony of the QBR, which will culminate at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 3, the opening day of the quadrennial multi-discipline sporting extravaganza.

After receiving the baton at the international border, Kalmadi will hand it over to the athletes present there who will then pass it on to Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, while his Delhi counterpart Sheila Dikshit will also attend the function.

Former India cricketer and Amritsar MP Navjyot Singh Sindhu and the city Mayor will take it through various places in the city, including the famous Golden Temple and Durgiana Temple.

Performance by late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's son Rahat Ali and the Indian Sufi singers, the Wadali brothers will then enthrall the audience present there.

After Amritsar, the baton will pass through other cities of Punjab, including Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Pathankot before entering Jammu and Kashmir by the end of this month.

"I am happy that the baton is arriving first in Punjab which has produced a number of international sportspersons in various disciplines. The QBR has generated good response in all the countries it has passed through so far and I expect all the Indians will be the part of this great journey," Kalmadi said.

A commemorative postage stamp will also be released on the occasion on Friday.

The baton, which will be under the security cover given by a 90-strong team through its journey touching over 400 cities and villages in India, will spread the message of love and friendship, said Kalmadi, also the chief of Indian Olympic Association.

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