Prez, Queen Launch Commonwealth Baton Relay

President Pratibha Patil and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II have launched the baton relay for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in the national capital. The Queen handed over the baton to President Patil at a ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.

Fourteen athletes, including Indian skipper Kapil Dev, ran with the baton around the Victoria Memorial. The relay run was started by shooter Abhinav Bindra.

The baton contains a message to the athletes from the Queen in her role as head of the Commonwealth, which will be read to the athletes at the opening ceremony scheduled for October 3, 2010.

The baton will now travel nearly 200,000 km in 340 days passing through 70 Commonwealth nations and all 28 states in the country before arriving in New Delhi in time for the opening of what is being billed as the biggest-ever sporting extravaganza in the country.

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