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Cover_A group of performers and the Baton at a ceremony in the town of Nainita

Festival spirit lifts Queen’s Baton in India

From the world’s greatest monument of love, the Taj Mahal, to the foothills of the Himalayas and the Ganges’ holy city of Haridwar, the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) has brought out the kindness, spontaneity and exuberance that makes India a one-of-a-kind nation in the Commonwealth.

Local school children with the Baton outside the Red Fort complex World Heritage centre

In keeping with the QBR’s values of inclusivity and diversity, running relays through eight different cities explored a kaleidoscope of places and people: temples, tombs and towers, mountains, lakes and rivers, women, men and children, athletes, para athletes and politicians. They were all included in the QBR’s six days in India, and were cheered through city streets by throngs of thousands chanting Vande Matram!, Long Live the Mother(land).

Rakesh Gupta, joint secretary of the Indian Olympic Association with the Baton on Nainital Lake

But no matter how diverse the days were, one little thing helped tie the whole QBR event together, the marigold flower, abundant at all Indian festivals. Smiling faces showered the Queen’s Baton with thousands of orange petals everywhere it stopped.

The Queen's Baton taking part in a special ceremony near the place of birth the Hindu deity Lord Krishna, in Mathura

It’s this energy, the liveliness and public support that helps motivate India’s athletes to greatness. On the QBR’s final day in Delhi it was time to put on show the nation’s sports stars. A dozen Commonwealth Games medallists joined in a sunset relay that took the Baton from the National Stadium to the iconic India Gate.

As many of these athletes gear up for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) next April, carrying the Baton was just a taste of the pride that they will feel when they represent their nation just six months’ time.

Shreyasi Singh, Glasgow 2014 silver in double trap shooting carrying the Baton from the National Stadium around the India Gate

Now properly infused with the scents, sights and sounds of India, the Queen’s Baton continues its journey in Bangladesh.

The Baton with Anandewhar Pandey (centre), secretary of the Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association, at Agra Fort

Did you know?

  • The Queen’s Baton took part in a Holy Ceremony at the birthplace of Lord Krishna where it was snowed under by marigold flowers.
  • India was the Baton’s 51st scheduled stop, which is the most auspicious number in India.
  • As far as sports go, India is a “sleeping giant”, which is stirring and emerging as a sporting powerhouse, says Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore AVSM, Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport.
  • India won 101 medals when they hosted the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.

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Queen's Baton Relay