Thursday, October 29, 2009

CWG countdown begins as Delhi receives Queen’s Baton

Tags:Commonwealth Games, CWG, Queens Baton Relay

Zeenews Bureau

London: Buckingham Palace resounded with Sanskrit chants of Rig Veda as children of all races introduced the theme of peace and harmony, starting the countdown of the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi.

The Queen of England launched the Baton Relay and thus kick-start the official countdown to the mega event.

The organizers had promised the longest and the most inclusive relay ever, and they lived up to their word.

Some of the prominent sports personalities featuring in the list of torch bearers included shooter Abhinav Bindra, boxing sensation Vijender Singh, wrestler Sushil Kumar, Milkha Singh, Kapil Dev, Dilip Tirkey and Karnam Malleswari.

Sania Mirza was ecstatic and said, “Its always great to come here and it’s a great honour, I’m happy that I was one of the few who were chosen.”

The Baton relay ceremony had the first performance by a South Asian classical dance group. It was a historic moment as it was for the first time that a host nation’s President was present to collect the Commonwealth Queen’s baton.

The baton relay, which will cover 190000 kms over 340 days and will be the longest in the history of the Commonwealth Games, will thus start. India’s President Pratibha Patil will be amongst other dignitaries present at the launch ceremony that will take place at the Buckingham Palace.

Talking to reporters, Indian cricketing legend Kapil Dev termed the opportunity as a great honour.

"It's a fantastic feeling and it's an honour," he said.

Commonwealth Games organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Games Federation President Michael Fennell, who have had their differences in the past, were also seen in a jubilant mood ahead of the big day.

"The baton and the baton journey is symbolic in many ways. It enables so many people to be part of it. This has an international sector and a domestic sector. So even in India this will go to every part and not just Delhi, so this is significant," Fennell told reporters.