2010 Commonwealth Games baton reaches India

Starting the 100-day countdown to this year`s Commonwealth Games, the Queen`s Baton Relay arrived in India on Friday.

Last Updated: Jun 25, 2010, 10:39 AM IST

Amritsar: Starting the 100-day countdown to
this year`s Commonwealth Games, the Queen`s Baton Relay
arrived in India from Pakistan through the historic Wagah
Border here today.

Chairman of the CWG Organising Committee Suresh Kalmadi,
received the baton from Pakistan Olympic Association President
Lt Gen Syed Arif Hassan at the international border, where the
Commonwealth Games Federation chief Mike Fennell was also
present.

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, will now start a
100-day national tour which would culminate in New Delhi for
the Games from October 3 to 14.

With this, the baton is nearing the end of its 190,000-km
journey, covering 71 nations and territories across the world.

"It`s a great day for sports in India. The baton has gone
170,000 kms all around the Commonwealth. We have received it
in a very big manner," Kalmadi said after passing the baton to
a host of dignitaries including CGF CEO Mike Hooper and
Olympic bronze medallist boxer Vijender Singh.

"It`s a big day for India and Pakistan. It is because of
Pakistan`s efforts that India got the Games and it shows that
our relationship with Pakistan will improve if we concentrate
on the sporting angle," he added.

Among those to whom the baton was passed on being
received at around 0930 hrs at the border, were four-time
world champion woman boxer M C Mary Kom.

Kalmadi once again allayed fears about the delay in
infrastructure construction that have marred the build-up to
the Games.

"I am grateful to Mr Fennell and Mr Hooper, who have been
supporting us. This also happens to be 100 days before the
Games. Let me tell you that everything is in place, including
the infrastructure. Everything is on track," he said.

POA chief Hassan said the Games would help in getting rid
of the hostilities between India and Pakistan.

"It`s a historic moment for us. It would get rid of the
hostilities of the past," he said.

Among others who were present at the relay included
Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Delhi Chief
Minister Sheila Dikshit and a host of top politicians and
bureaucrats.

PTI