Glasgow 2014 Queen's Baton Relay hits road block as India claim they cannot host first international stop

Wednesday, 02 October 2013

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By Duncan Mackay

The Queen's Baton Relay is due to start at Buckingham Palace on October 9October 2 - Plans by Glasgow 2014 for its Queen's Baton Relay to visit every country in the Commonwealth before next year's Games have hit a major problem already after India claimed that they will not be able to host a leg of the event in New Delhi, its first international stop.

The event is due to take place in Delhi on October 13, a date that coincides with the celebrations for Dussehra, a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil.

V K Malhotra, acting President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), claims he has written to Glasgow 2014 organisers telling them that they cannot host the event on that day and asked them to reschedule it.

But that seems unlikely as the Baton is due to travel around all the other 70 Commonwealth countries before arriving in Britain on May 11 to continue its journey for the Opening Ceremony in Glasgow on July 23. 

The Queen's Baton Relay is due to start at Buckingham Palace in London on October 9 before travelling to India, which had been chosen specifically to mark the fact that Delhi had hosted the last Commonwealth Games in 2010. 

Tarlochan Singh, vice-president of the IOA, blamed Glasgow 2014 for the situation. 

"The Organising Committee wanted the Baton relay in India on Dussehra day," he said.

"It was not possible for us to organise on that day as there are celebrations everywhere.

"That is their fault, they should have discussed with us."

When the Queen's Baton Relay arrived in New Delhi in 2010 for the start of the Commonwealth Games it proved to be a popular attractionWhen the Queen's Baton Relay arrived in New Delhi in 2010 for the start of the Commonwealth Games it proved to be a popular attraction

A spokesman for Glasgow 2014 told insidethegames that they were seeking a solution to the situation. 

"The Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee has proactively engaged with a number of organisations including the Indian Olympic Association, the British High Commission and our international charity partner UNICEF in developing a programme for the Queen's Baton Relay during its visit to India," he said.

"This three-day programme has been developed over many months.

"It has been designed to celebrate the opportunities and shared values of the Commonwealth, the power of sport, as well as to acknowledge Delhi as the host city of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

"Recognising and aligning with the IOA's security and resource requirements, the Queen's Baton Relay programme maximises engagement opportunities delivered in collaboration with the British High Commission and UNICEF which give the Baton a role in profiling the powerful potential of sport to impact positive change.

"These plans have the approval of the Commonwealth Games Federation and are part of a highly-complex Queen's Baton Relay 248-day schedule developed to engage with all 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth before returning to Scotland for the Opening Ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

"The Queen's Baton Relay is a unique opportunity for Glasgow and Scotland to connect with all of nations and territories of the Commonwealth, sharing the excitement and opportunities of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games as well as our culture, creativity and enterprise.

"We continue to actively collaborate with the IOA, the British High Commission and UNICEF to ensure all plans are in place.

"We look forward very much to bringing the Baton and sharing our excitement and enthusiasm for the Commonwealth Games with the people of India next week, as planned."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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