Queen's baton to break another record

This time, Queen Elizabeth II will entrust the baton with her ‘message to the athletes’, engraved on a miniature 18-carat gold leaf that is representative of the ancient Indian palm leaf manuscript, to India’s President Pratibha Patil.

The baton will then be handed over to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chairman Suresh Kalamdi, who will pass it over to India’s first individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra. In all, 11  sportspersons from India, are participating in the relay from London October 29.

The relay concludes at the Opening Ceremony on October 3 2010, as the final relay runner hands the baton back to the Queen or her representative, and the message is read aloud. Over the years, the Queen’s Baton Relay has evolved into a powerful symbol of the unity and diversity of the Commonwealth of Nations. With each Games, the tradition grows in scale and significance – including more nations, involving more participants and generating more excitement than ever before.

*   The Kuala Lumpur 1998 Queen’s Baton Relay was the first to deliver the relay to other nations of the Commonwealth, besides England and the host country.
*   The Manchester 2002 Queen’s Jubilee Baton travelled more than 100,000 km in 87 days, and visited 23 Commonwealth nations.
*   The Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton travelled an epic journey of more than 1,80,000 km in a year and a day, and visited all 71 nations of the Commonwealth – home to almost one third of the world’s population.

Epic journey

For each Games, the host country designs a unique Baton. For Melbourne 2006, the Baton harnessed the latest  digital and communication technology to enable people across the globe to join the baton on its epic journey by tracking its location via the internet, supported by satellite coverage.

The Baton, covering 190,000 km across 71 Commonwealth countries over 340 days, will enter India on June 25 next through the Wagah border. The baton will travel 20,000 km in India, the maximum distance ever covered in a host country.

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