The 2010 Commonwealth Games Queen's baton on Friday began its 190,000km journey to India after Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi handed it over to Commonwealth Games England Chairman Sir Andrew Foster in the precincts of the British Houses of Parliament here.
The baton will travel across the Commonwealth nations before arriving at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the event in Delhi on October 3 next year.
At a ceremony attended by the House of Commons Speaker Rt. Hon. John Bercow, Indian Sports Minister M S Gill and Delhi's Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna, Kalmadi handed over the baton to Foster.
"Back in 1948, it was in London that India took part in the Olympic Games for the first time as an independent nation. It was in Cardiff, Wales, that India claimed its first Commonwealth Games gold medal when Milkha Singh won the 400m race in 1958," Kalmadi said in New Palace Yard.
"Prakash Padukone won the All-England badminton crown in 1980 and under Kapil Dev's captaincy, India won the cricket World Cup at Lord's in 1983 while Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi emerged doubles champions at Wimbledon in 1999. Now, we have added the launch of the Queen's Baton Relay 2010 to that list of successes," he added.
After covering the Commonwealth, the baton will travel across all the States and Union territories of India over the next 339 days.
Foster said England had no doubts that the Delhi Games would be a great one.