Pakistan Olympic Association President, Lt Gen Syed Arif Hassan will hand over the Queen’s Baton Relay for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to his Indian counterpart Suresh Kalmadi on June 25 at the Attari-Wagah border near Amritsar.

“Gen Hassan will hand over the Baton to IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi at the Attari-Wagah border in the morning. We are expecting some top international and national sportspersons to participate in the gala reception that has been planned on the arrival of the baton,” IOA Joint Secretary and Punjab government appointed Nodal Officer for the programme to receive the Baton, Raja Sidhu told PTI today.

The baton for the Games was launched by Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace in London October 29 last year in presence of Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at a formal ceremony.

The baton would have covered 1,70,000 km and travelled through 70 Commonwealth nations before it reaches India. The baton will pass through various cities of Punjab before moving to other states.

The Games are scheduled to be held in New Delhi from October 3 to 14. Over 10,000 athletes and officials from 71 Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) will participate in the 12-days of sporting extravaganza.

“The Baton is to travel over 20,000 km in India covering all the states and Union Territories before it reaches Delhi on September 30,” Sidhu, who is also Secretary General of the Punjab Olympic Association, said.

He said the Central Government will also release a postage stamp at Attari border dedicated to the Games.

Giving details of the elaborate function that was planned in Amritsar when the Baton arrives, he said, “though Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra may not be available on that day when the baton arrives, we are expecting four-times World Boxing champion Mary Kom and some of our top athletes to be present there.”

Kalmadi will hand over the Baton to athletes present there who will then pass on the Baton to Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and city Mayor will take the Baton through various places in Amritsar. On the same day, the Baton will be placed at Ram Bagh for public display.

“A cultural programme will be organised in the evening in which late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s son Rahat Ali and the Indian sufi singers the Wadali Brothers will entertain the audience,” Sidhu added.

The Baton will travel to other parts of Punjab including Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur and Pathankot before entering Jammu on June 28.

On July 3, it will reach Chandigarh.

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