Monday, October 19, 2009

2010 Commonwealth Games

"Victory belongs to the most persevering"
- Napoleon

India is set to host the Commonwealth Games - External website that opens in a new window for the first time ever, from 3rd to 14th October, 2010. These Games are a multi sport event, in which countries that were once part of the former British Empire participate. The curtain raiser to the Commonwealth Games is the Queen's Baton Relay, which is expected to commence on the 29th of October, 2009. As the city of New Delhi gears up to present the main event next year, we bring you a closer look at the Queen's Baton Relay and other traditions of the Games.

History of the Commonwealth Games

Reverend Ashley Cooper was the first person to propose the idea of having a Pan-Britannic sporting contest to foster a spirit of goodwill and understanding within the British Empire. In 1928, a key Canadian athlete, Bobby Robinson, was given the task of organizing the first ever Commonwealth Games. These Games were held in 1930, in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and saw the participation of 400 athletes from eleven countries.
Since then, the Commonwealth Games have been held every four years, except for the period during the Second World War. The Games have been known by various names such as the British Empire Games, Friendly Games and British Commonwealth Games. Since 1978, they have been known as the Commonwealth Games. Originally having only single competition sports, the 1998 Commonwealth Games at Kuala Lumpur saw a major change when team sports such as cricket, hockey and netball made their first appearance.
In 2001, the Games Movement adopted the three values of Humanity, Equality and Destiny as the core values of the Commonwealth Games. These values inspire and connect thousands of people and signify the broad mandate for holding the Games within the Commonwealth.

The Queen's Baton Relay

One of the great customs of the Commonwealth Games is the Queen's Baton Relay - External website that opens in a new window. This relay traditionally begins with a commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, during which, the Queen entrusts the baton containing her 'message to the athletes' to the first honorary relay runner. This year, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will present the baton to India's Olympic Gold Medalist Abhinav Bindra.
The Queen's Baton for the 2010 Commonwealth Games was unveiled at a stunning cultural show held at India Gate in New Delhi on 8th March 2009. The helix shape of the Baton, created out of aluminium, is coated with a graded and layered soil pattern in black, yellow and red to represent the diversity of the country. At the apex of the Baton is a clear polycarbonate shell in which Her Majesty's 'message to the athletes' will be placed. The Queen`s message will also be engraved onto a miniature gold leaf in the tradition of the ancient Indian 'pathras', but using laser technology known as micro calligraphy.
The 2009 Queen`s Baton Relay is expected to take 240 days to complete its marathon journey through the Commonwealth territories participating in the Games, covering a distance of more than 170,000 kilometers. After that, it will begin its 100 day national tour, where the baton will visit every Indian state and its capital, covering an extra 20,000 kilometers.
The relay will conclude with the final baton bearer entering the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi during the Opening Ceremony to be held on 3rd October, 2010. The baton will be handed back to the Queen or her representative and the message in it will be read aloud.

The Mascot and Logo

Named 'Shera - External website that opens in a new window', the mascot of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games is the National Animal of India - the tiger. Presented to the world at the closing ceremony of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Shera, embodies the values of majesty, courage, power and grace. This orange and black striped tiger personifies the spirit of India, while pushing athletes to come up with their best performances.
The logo of the Delhi Commonwealth Games is inspired by the Chakra - External website that opens in a new window, the national symbol of freedom, unity and power. Spiraling upwards, this rainbow Chakra in the shape of human figure portrays the coming together of the diverse people of India to fuel the growth of a proud and vibrant nation.
The logo tagline is 'Come Out and Play'. It is an invitation to every person across all participating nationalities to let go of their inhibitions and participate in the Games according to their best capacity, in the true spirit of the Games. It is a call to set new records and an exhortation to the people of Delhi to play the perfect hosts for the entire duration of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Delhi, 2010 - Let the Games Begin

About 71 teams are expected to participate in the 19th Commonwealth Games at New Delhi. These include the 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations as well as separate teams for the constituent countries of the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories. India is the third developing country to host the event after Jamaica in 1966 and Malaysia in 1998.
Seventeen sports have been included in the Games schedule. They are Archery, Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby 7s, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling. Elite Athletes with Disabilities (EAD) will compete in 15 events across 4 sports, namely, Athletics, Swimming, Powerlifting and Table Tennis. The government is currently renovating existing facilities and constructing new infrastructure for these sports. Here is some more information on the 2010 Commonwealth Games -
The Commonwealth Games presents a unique opportunity for young sportspersons from India and other Commonwealth countries to get together, live in the same environment, compete with each other and achieve superior levels of sporting excellence. As our sportspersons leave no stones unturned in their preparations for the Games, citizens need to support and cheer them on as they get ready for the big event. There is no dearth of sporting talent in our vast country and it is hoped that the 2010 Commonwealth Games sees our National Flag soaring high and our torch burning bright.



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