Anand, Jayalakshmi to be the first leg runners of QBR in TN

Chennai: Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand and
athlete Jayalakshmi would be the first leg runners of the
Commonwealth Games Queen`s Baton Relay (QBR) which will reach
the state on Thursday.

Anand and Jayalakshmi would receive the baton from Tamil
Nadu Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin, who will in turn accept
it from Tamil Nadu Sports Minister.

Giving details of areas the baton would travel,
additional Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi told reporters
here today that QBR would be received by officials of Sports
Development Authority of Tamil Nadu and representatives
of the Tamil Nadu Olympic Association at Thiruthani (about 100
kms from Chennai) around 3.30 am tomorrow.

The relay would then reach Chennai airport and leave for
Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands at 7.55 am. The QBR
would return to Chennai on August 20 and Stalin will launch
the official run in the city at Island Ground at 5 pm by
handing over the baton to Anand and Jayalakshmi.

"We have identified 50 sportspersons, including 14 top
international athletes, to run the 4.6 km distance from the
Island Ground to the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium,"
Sarangi, who will receive the batton at the Indoor Stadium,

The other international athletes to carry the baton in
Chennai include, Ramesh Krishnan, Bhaskaran, V J Philips,
Gnanasekaran, Sebastian Xavier, Riyaz Khan, Sridharan, Joshna
Chinnappa, Achanta Sarath Kamal, Shiny Wilson, Wilson Cherian
and Dipika Pallikal.

The run will be followed by cultural celebrations at the
Museum Theatre in Egmore.

The QBR will proceed with its onward journey on August 21
at 8 am to Pondicherry and from there on to Thanjavur,
Rameshwaran in Ramanathapuram district, Madurai, Kanniyakumari
and Ooty.

It would travel through the states from August 21 to
September 1 and will be handed over to Karnataka on September
1 at Kakkanalla on the Ooty-Mysore border.

"The QBR team comprises 85 personnel, including 31
officers and 54 support staff. They travel in a convoy of 29
vehicles and in Tamil Nadu, the baton relay will be held in
five districts of Chennai, Thanjavur, Ramanathapuram, Madurai
and Kanniyakumari. Apart from Chennai, we propose to hold
cultural programmes at Madurai and Ooty," Sarangi said.
Sarangi, however, denied there was any protocol breach in
asking the state Sports Minister to hand over the baton to the
state representative (Deputy Chief Minister) and rejected
allegations that Tamil Nadu Olympic Association was sidelined
by the state government.

"TNOA has been a part of the preparations for receiving
the QBR and the relay programme. They have attended two
meetings and voiced their opinions. We have given them
permission to receive the QBR when it arrives from Andhra and
that is the highest recognition that we can give to the TNOA,"
he stated.

He refused to elaborate on the issue of protocol breach
as alleged by the TNOA general secretary K Murugan.

"There is no breach in protocol. I think there has
been some miscommunication. I do not want to comment on the
remark of the TNOA," Sarangi added.