Pakistan Olympic Association chief to hand over Queen`s Baton

Chandigarh: Pakistan Olympic Association
President, Lt Gen Syed Arif Hassan will hand over the Queen`s
Baton Relay for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to his Indian
counterpart Suresh Kalmadi on June 25 at the Attari-Wagah
border near Amritsar.

"Gen Hassan will hand over the Baton to IOA chief Suresh
Kalmadi at the Attari-Wagah border in the morning. We are
expecting some top international and national sportspersons
to participate in the gala reception that has been planned on
the arrival of the baton," IOA Joint Secretary and Punjab
government appointed Nodal Officer for the programme to
receive the Baton, Raja Sidhu told reporters.

The baton for the Games was launched by Queen Elizabeth
II from Buckingham Palace in London October 29 last year in
presence of Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at a
formal ceremony.

The baton would have covered 1,70,000 km and travelled
through 70 Commonwealth nations before it reaches India. The
baton will pass through various cities of Punjab before moving
to other states.

The Games are scheduled to be held in New Delhi from
October 3 to 14. Over 10,000 athletes and officials from 71
Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) will participate in the
12-days of sporting extravaganza.

"The Baton is to travel over 20,000 km in India covering
all the states and Union Territories before it reaches Delhi
on September 30," Sidhu, who is also Secretary General of the
Punjab Olympic Association, said.

He said the Central Government will also release a
postage stamp at Attari border dedicated to the Games.

Giving details of the elaborate function that was planned
in Amritsar when the Baton arrives, he said, "though Olympic
gold medalist Abhinav Bindra may not be available on that day
when the baton arrives, we are expecting four-times World
Boxing champion Mary Kom and some of our top atheletes to be
present there."

Kalmadi will hand over the Baton to athletes present
there who will then pass on the Baton to Punjab Governor
Shivraj Patil and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and city Mayor will take
the Baton through various places in Amritsar. On the same day,
the Baton will be placed at Ram Bagh for public display.

"A cultural programme will be organised in the evening in
which late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan`s son Rahat
Ali and the Indian sufi singers the Wadali Brothers will
entertain the audience," Sidhu added.

The Baton will travel to other parts of Punjab including
Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur and
Pathankot before entering Jammu on June 28.

On July 3, it will reach Chandigarh.


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