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Queen formally hands over 2010 CWG baton to President Patil

world Updated: Oct 29, 2009 23:36 IST
2010 CWG baton to President Pratibha Patil in

The formal countdown to next year's Delhi Commonwealth Games began on Thursday with the ceremonial Queen's Baton relay, which saw Queen Elizabeth II handing over the glittering baton to President Pratibha Patil in London.

Before the Queen placed her message to the baton and passed it on Patil to mark the beginning of a year-long relay, a cultural show in sync with India's rich tradition was organised at the majestic Buckingham Palace.

The message was engraved onto a miniature 18-carat gold leaf that is symbolic of the ancient Indian palm leaf patras.

It is for the first time that the Head of a State attended the traditional ceremony and received the baton from the Queen.
Commonwealth Games Federation Michael Fennell presented the baton to the Queen.

President Patil passed on the baton to Sports Minister MS Gill, who handed it over to Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

From Kalmadi baton reached the hands of first baton bearer Abhinav Bindra, India's only Olympic Gold medallist.

With Indian music playing in the background air rifle shooter Bindra began the relay-run and handed over the baton to legendary middle-distance runner Lord Sebastian Coe, waiting just outside gates of the Palace.

Coe is also Chairman of the Organising Committee of the 2012 London Olympics.

The baton passed through the hands of Legendary Indian cricketer Kapil Dev, the most successful female tennis player Sania Mirza, flying sikh Milkha Singh, Olympic bronze medal winners -- boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar --and England's first Sikh cricketer Monty Panesar among other Indian sports personalities.

After going through 70 Commonwealth countries, covering 170,000km over 240 days, the Baton will arrive in India from the Wagah Border with just 100 days left for the start of the Games.

It will travel to all State Capitals, a number of other towns and villages, exhorting all of India to be a part of the celebrations.

The baton will finally enter Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi on October 3 for the opening ceremony.

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