Rain plays spoilsport in QBR celebration

Kolkata: With monsoon at its peak, the
elaborate arrangements for the Queen`s Baton Relay turned out
to be a damp squib after it arrived at the Netaji Subhash
Chandra Bose airport an hour behind schedule, here on Sunday.

Led by India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, a boast
of sportspersons including Olympian Soma Biswas, Asian Games
double gold medallist Jyotirmoyee Sikdar and yesteryear`s
football star Tulsidas Balaram welcomed the Baton at the

Sports Minister Kanti Ganguly, Bengal Olympic Association
chief Paresh Nath Mukherjee and Secretary Kamalesh Chatterjee
were also present at the airport to receive the Baton, which
arrived here from Tripura capital Agartala.

Amid heavy downpour, the Baton was then taken to the
Bodyguard Lines in a lackluster manner as there were no waving
of schoolchildren along the 15-km route, as it was planned

"Rains have shattered all our plans. We had planned to
bring about 5,000 schoolchildren, waving flags along the route
till the Bodyguard Lines where the Baton will be kept. But the
weather has played a spoilsport," BOA Secretary Kamalesh
Chatterjee told reporters.

From the Bodyguard Lines in Alipore, the Baton would be
taken to the Victoria Memorial at around 3 pm where former
India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly would join the

"We hope the weather to clear a bit so we can expect some
crowd gathering when the Baton Relay begins from the North
Gate of Victoria Memorial at 3 pm," he said.

Organisers of the event, the West Bengal government and
the BOA, have also cancelled the cultural programme scheduled
in the evening at Police Training School. It will now be held
at the Bodyguard Lines.

After a day`s stopover in the city, the QBR will head to
some district towns covering about 300 kms, traversing through
Bardwan, Panagarh, Durgapur and Asansol before reaching
Dhanbad in Jharkhand on August 4.

The Baton Relay for the Delhi Commonwealth Games was
launched on October 29 last year at the Buckingham Palace in
London, with Queen Elizabeth II handing the Baton to President
Pratibha Patil.

The Baton was then handed to Olympic gold medallist
shooter Abhinav Bindra, who had started the journey with a
relay around the Queen Victoria Monument.

The QBR then traversed through all the Commonwealth
nations and territories before reaching India, where it is on
a 100-day journey covering 400 cities.

QBR will reach its final destination Jawaharlal Nehru
Stadium for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games to
be held from October 3-14.


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