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

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, 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, said. 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. PTI

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