Amidst allegations of corruption in several Commonwealth Games-related projects, the Queen's Baton reached Tamil Nadu's Chennai city on Friday.
State Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin formally flagged off the Tamil Nadu leg relay with world chess champion Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand and Olympian Jayalakshmi.
"Overall, Commonwealth Games is definitely very important. Number one is Olympics; number two is World Cup and number three is Commonwealth Games. So in that arena, the performance will definitely the help Indian people to get the higher rank to go for World Cup, get more confidence to go for the Olympics," said Vasudevan Bhaskaran, captain of the Indian hockey team that won the gold medal at Moscow Olympiad in 1980.
"We have to cross this hurdle and go for World Cup and Olympics," he added.
The next destination of the Baton is the neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry.
"It is the first time I have run with a baton and I enjoyed it very much. I wish the games all the success," said Chess Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand.
Former Indian Olympics Association President Sivanthi Adityan was the first one to receive the baton which he handed over to Stalin.
Ramesh Krishnan, V Bhaskaran, V J Philips, Gnanasekaran, Sebastian Xavier, Riyaz Khan, Sridharan, Joshna Chinnappa, Dipika Pallikal, Sarath Kamal, Shiny Wilson and Wilson Cherian were other sports persons, who were present on the occasion to take part in the Baton's relay run at Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
The Commonwealth Games 2010 that kicks off on October 3 is India's biggest sporting event since the 1982 Asian Games.
India is expecting about two million tourists in New Delhi for the Games, as well as about 10,000 athletes from 71 teams representing 54 Commonwealth member states.