Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gurgaon catches Games fever as baton arrives

The Queen's Baton for the Commonwealth Games 2010 reached the Millennium City on Wednesday amidst great pomp and show. Deputy commissioner R K Kataria received the baton after it crossed the Jhajjar-Gurgaon border near Farrukhnagar.

The baton was then carried in an open vehicle to Gurgaon's Nehru Stadium where it was welcomed by schoolchildren and villagers who stood guard holding the Tricolour. The DC handed it over to finance minister, Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, minister of state for agriculture and cooperatives, Sukhbir Singh Kataria, and Haryana director general of police, Ranjeev Dalal.

Kataria said the state government announced cash prizes of Rs 15 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for Haryana players who win gold, silver and bronze medals at the upcoming Games. Several Arjuna awardees, Bhim awardees and Dronacharya awardees were present at the function at Nehru Stadium.

Arjun awardee, athlete Bhim Singh said, ''The arrival of the baton has filled us with enthusiasm. Sportspersons from Haryana will win lots of medals for India. I expect at least 50 medals from team India.'' Bhim awardee, gymnast Poonam Chabra said, ''I feel honoured to be part of the Baton Relay. I wish the Indian team good luck and I am sure they will make us proud.''

After halting at Nehru Stadium, the Baton headed to Tau Devi Lal Stadium before reaching Dhanchiri Camp at Delhi-Gurgaon toll plaza, where a colourful cultural programme was organized in the evening.

Lt General Raj Kadian, head of the Baton Relay Run in India, said the 100-day journey of the Baton in India was nearing completion. Kadian said the message of Queen Elizabeth II, head of the Commonwealth of Nations, scribbled on the baton had not been read by anyone till now as it was covered with an 18-carat gold leaf. It will be unveiled and read out to sportspersons during the Games opening ceremony.

The baton will be handed over to the Delhi government on Thursday as it completes the last leg of the relay.

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