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The Queen`s Baton Relay is one of the great traditions of the Commonwealth Games, having been the curtain-raiser to every games since Cardiff, Wales, in 1958. The relay symbolises the gathering of people from across the Commonwealth at the four-yearly festival of sport and culture.

 

The relay traditionally begins with a commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, which coincides with the city`s Commonwealth Day festivities. There Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II entrusts the baton containing Her `message to the athletes` to the first honorary relay runner.

 

The relay concludes at the Opening Ceremony, as the final relay runner hands the baton back to Her Majesty, or Her representative, and the message is read aloud. At that moment the relay ends and the Games begin.

 

Over the years, the Queen`s Baton Relay has evolved into a powerful symbol of the unity and diversity of the Commonwealth of Nations. With each Games, the tradition grows in scale and significance – including more nations, involving more participants and generating more excitement than ever before.

 

The Kuala Lumpur 1998 Queen`s Baton Relay was the first to deliver the relay to other nations of the Commonwealth, besides England and the host country. The Manchester 2002 Queen`s Jubilee Baton travelled more than 100,000 kilometres in 87 days, and visited 23 Commonwealth nations.

 

The Melbourne 2006 Queen`s Baton travelled an epic journey of more than 180,000 kilometres in a year and a day, and visited all 71 nations of the Commonwealth – home to almost one third of the world`s population.

 

The Melbourne 2006 Queen`s Baton Relay was the world`s longest, most inclusive relay. No other Games relay has visited all member nations.

 

The Queen`s Baton Relay 2010 Delhi will commence at Buckingham Palace on 29 October 2009 and end 340 days later at the Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi on 3 October 2010. During this period the baton will visit the home of one third of the world’s population and cover a distance in excess of 190,000 kilometres. This marathon event will involve travelling for 240 days through the other 70 nations of the Commonwealth, before spending 100 days visiting all the capital cities in India’s 28 states and seven union territories.