Queen's Baton Relay begins journey to New Delhi from Buckingham Palace
October 29 - Queen Elizabeth and Indian President Pratibha Patil started the countdown to the New Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games as they launched the global baton relay today at Buckingham Palace in London.
British and Indian sports stars carried the baton through central London on the start of its journey to the Indian capital.
The Baton contains a message for the athletes from Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Commonwealth.
It will travel through some 70 countries and cover 124,274 miles over 240 days before reaching the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for the start of the Games on October 3 next year, when the message will be read aloud, officially opening the event.
In a special ceremony, the sovereign placed her message, contained in a jewellery box, inside the baton and handed it to Patil.
World 10-metre air rifle champion Abhinav Bindra (pictured), who in Beijing last year became the first Indian to win an individual Olympic gold medal, began the relay, carrying the baton out of the Palace gates.
Bindra said: "It is a matter of great honour to be the first runner in the historic relay.
"It is a dream come true.
"I have participated in three Olympics and it is a great honour to be part of the Delhi Commonwealth Games,"
Double Olympic 1,500 metres champion Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Games, then ran with the Baton, passing it on to India's 1983 World Cup-winning cricket captain Kapil Dev.
Mike Hooper, the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), who was at the centre of an ugly dispute with Suresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the local organising committee, said it was not a day to moan about “bricks and mortars,” alluding to his dissatisfaction with the progress of some of the Delhi Games projects, but to get on with the show.
The Baton has the Queen’s message engraved onto a miniature 18-carat gold leaf symbolising the ancient Indian palm leaf patras.
Athletes carrying the baton can also record their messages and images and sounds to the blue tooth enabled baton.
It will be relayed to base station in the accompanying vehicle and to the Commonwealth Games website.
The location of the baton can also be tracked throughout its journey through the Global Positioning System (GPS) embedded in it.
October 2009: Coe to take part in Queen's Baton Relay
September 2009: Monty to play key role in Queen's Baton Relay
July 2009: Bindra to receive Commonwealth Games baton from Queen
March 2009: Queen's Baton for 2010 Commonwealth Games unveiled