The air was thick with anticipation as Batonbearers from India and Britain chosen to feature in the launch Queen's Baton Relay 2010 on Thursday gathered at the official hotel of the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi on Wednesday.
Lord Sebastian Coe, a two-time Olympic Games champion and Chairman, London 2012 Organising Committee, enquired about Delhi's preparedness of the Commonwealth Games and embraced former India cricket captain Kapil Dev.
Kapil, who was captain of the Indian cricket team that won the World Cup in 1983, loved the opportunity to interact with champions from other sporting disciplines. "It is wonderful to meet people like Lord Coe as well as our own champions like Abhinav Bindra, Milkha Singh, Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar," he said.
He said he had no doubt that Delhi 2010 would be a memorable event and that the athletes from the Commonwealth nations and territories would enjoy their visit to compete in the biggest sporting extravaganza in Delhi.
Olympic Games and World championship bronze medalist boxer Vijender Singh was thrilled that he would play a role in the Queen's Relay at Buckingham Palace on his 24th birthday on Thursday. Freestyle wrestler Sushil Kumar, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, and India's first woman medalist at the Olympic Games, Karnam Malleswari, were excited too to be a part of the opening day ceremonies.
Commonwealth Games Federation President Mr. Michael Fennell will take the Baton from the plint and carry it to Her Majesty the Queen. She will place her message to the athletes in a jewellery box in the handcrafted Baton. Her message has been engraved onto a miniature 18-carat gold leaf that is symbolic of the ancient Indian palm leaf patras. The embossing has been made by using modern laser technology. The Baton has been created by Foley design along with Titan Industries and Bharat Electronics.
The Hon'ble President of India will pass on the Baton to the Minister for Sports, Dr. M S Gill who will then turn it over to Mr. Kalmadi, Chairman of the Organising Committee and President of the Indian Olympic Association. Mr. Suresh Kalmadi will then hand over the Baton to the first Batonbearer, Abhinav Bindra.
On October 30, Organising Committee Chairman Mr. Kalmadi will hand over the Baton to the Commonwealth Games Council of England Chairman Sir Andrew Foster in the presence of the Union Sports Minister Dr. MS Gill and the Rt. Hon. Mr. John Bercow, Hon'ble Speaker of the House of Commons and Mr. Tejendra Khanna, Lt. Governor, National Capital Territory of Delhi. The ceremony will be held at the Greens in New Palace Yard, Houses of Parliament.
After journeying for 170,000km over 240 days in different lands that are members of the Commonwealth, the Baton will arrive in India at the Wagah Border with Pakistan with just 100 days left for the start of the Games. It will then travel to all State Capitals, a number of other towns and villages, exhorting all of India to be a part of the celebrations. It will reach the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on October 3, 2010 when the Queen or Her representative will read out the message to the athletes, marking the start of the Games.