Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday launched the baton relay for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, an event which is facing organisational delays.
The monarch handed over the baton to Indian President Pratibha Patil in a ceremony outside Buckingham Palace before 14 athletes — including India’s 1983 World Cup winning cricket captain Kapil Dev — ran with it around the Victoria Memorial on The Mall.
The baton, which contains a message to the athletes from the queen in her role as head of the Commonwealth, will reach the Indian capital in time for the Oct. 3, 2010, opening ceremony.
The baton will cover more than 190,000 kilometers in 340 days as it travels around the world before the 71-nation event.
Games organisers are racing to try and get all the facilities completed in time.
“Things are not where they should be. There have been delays both in relation to the delivery of infrastructure for the Games and indeed the operational planning,” Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive, Mike Hooper, said outside the Palace.
“Our focus is not on the bricks on mortar — we are sure it will get there. It is really on the operational delivery.”
Mr. Hooper reiterated that there is no possibility of the games being moved from Delhi.