Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Indian community prepares to welcome QBR in Australia

Queen’s Baton Relay arrives in Parramatta on Monday, April 19 and will be welcomed to the city with a special event in Harris Park before being carried by a number of sporting stars to its civic welcome at Parramatta Town Hall.

United India Association president Aruna Chandrala said the Indian community was looking forward to the relay and cultural entertainment planned for Harris Park on the day.

"This is a great moment for the Indian community, especially as the baton was not even coming to Sydney, and now it is passing through Harris Park in recognition of the large Indian community here" Mrs Chandrala said.

"It is exciting enough for us that the Commonwealth Games are in Delhi and now we can be part of the relay."

Both sites will have music and dance entertainment to keep the crowds entertained.

Parramatta is the first Australian city the Queen’s Baton will visit in its journey around the globe en route to Delhi for the opening of the Commonwealth Games in October.

After Parramatta, the baton will be taken by ferry to Sydney city and then it’s off to Melbourne and Brisbane before leaving for Papua New Guinea.

The relay will have visited more than 70 countries by the time it reaches Delhi.

The baton arrives in Harris Park at 8.35am but celebrations would already have started at 7am with dancing, music and singing.

A stage in Harris Park on the junction of Marion and Station streets will be erected for performances from a variety of great musicians and dancers including the Parramatta City Choir, Adriana Diab and Bobby Singh & Friends.

There will be stalls selling a range of tasty breakfasts and refreshments from 7am. The baton will then make its way to Parramatta Town Hall carried initially by a number of sporting heroes and community members.

The honour of the first leg from the Harris Park stage goes to Parramatta’s Sportsperson of the Year, Kristy Pond. She will hand over to Parramatta Eels’ stars Nathan Cayless and Nathan Hindmarsh who will pass the baton to the school captains from St Oliver’s Primary and the Australian International Performing Arts High School.

Once the baton leaves Harris Park for the next stage of its journey celebrations at Parramatta Town Hall will get under way. It will not be able to be followed at that point as it will be transported to arrive at the town hall at 10am.

Children’s song and dance troupe the Jitterbugs will kick off proceedings followed by the Casey Steen trio. Parramatta Goodwill Ambassador Nathan Brake will also perform before an exciting Commonwealth flavoured mix of performances covering African, Aboriginal and Punjabi cultures.

The baton will be welcomed by Lord Mayor Paul Garrard and Indian Consul General Amit Dasgupta, State Labor Parramatta MP Tanya Gadiel and other dignitaries from India and the Commonwealth Games.

Following a traditional Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony and speeches, the baton will be passed to Natalie Bates, 2006 Commonwealth Games road cycling champion, who will start the baton on its journey to Parramatta Wharf where it will board the ferry to continue its progress on to Sydney.

The Commonwealth Games will take place between October 3 and 14 in Delhi.

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