The Queen’s Baton Relay, a traditional event that has launched every Commonwealth Game since 1958, will be held next October 29 at Buckingham Palace in London.
Apart from the visiting Indian President, other dignitaries expected to attend the ceremony include Prince Philip, Commonwealth Games Federation President Michael Fennell and the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Delhi Games, Suresh Kalmadi. Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra will be the first athlete to run with the baton, a high-tech stick that will contain a digital camera, a GPS and a Queen’s message to athletes engraved on a gold leaf.
The baton will be carried to the Queen Victoria Memorial and The Mall in central London, followed by a colorful parade of performers, before making its way to Trafalgar Square, where a grand finale will showcase Indian culture.
The baton will then traverse the length and breadth of the Commonwealth for 240 days, visiting all of the other 70 nations and territories, before entering India for a 100-day national tour.
By the end of this epic journey, it will have traveled for 340 days and covered more than 190,000 km, passing through the hands of thousands of individuals across land, air, sea and on many different modes of transport – from bicycle and boat to hot air balloon, steam train and even an elephant.
The journey will include some of the most remote places in the Commonwealth such as St. Helena – accessible only by boat – and the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.
The baton will enter India from the Attari border with Pakistan June 25 before starting on a journey of 28 States and seven Indian Union Territories, covering a distance of over 20,000 km.
The relay will end at the opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium October 3, where athletes will be read out the Queen’s message, engraved on a miniature 18-carat gold leaf representing the ancient Indian ‘patra’.