Queens Baton jitters: From Sikkim to Darjeeling across the Teesta to a rousing Gorkha welcome en-route to Darjeeling – sure its the real thing and not just a quick Chinese copy ?!!
From Himal News
Compiled by our Special News Correspondent
(Photos from various web sources as forwarded)
Kalimpong, Jul 18: The CWG Queen’s Baton, on a nation-wide relay in the run-up to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, was today handed over to the Darjeeling administration after remaining ‘untraced’ for about two hours during the Sikkim leg the day before.
This briefly caused serious concern and greater relief, which turned into zestful jibes of communist copy conspiracies, as the sportsmen of the region carried the Queens Baton onward.
The high drama for over two hours occurred yesterday when the Baton was on its way from Gangtok to Nathula border after being handed over to the army at the circuit house.
Shortly after the baton reached Kupup Golf Course at 12:30 pm, QBR Director from New Delhi Colonel Kuldeep Singh went to Sunshine Point near ‘Baba Mandir’, three km away from Singh’s vehicle, with the baton along with six QBR members apparently keeping other accompanying civil and security officials in dark, an official said.
Finally Singh, who was spotted with the baton at Sunshine point, was asked to come down and the wand was brought back to Thegu near Sherathang trade mart at around 2:45 pm for being handed over to Sikkim Olympic Association.
“What happened was not in the itinerary,” an official of the Sikkim QBR Nodal Officer H K Karki said referring to Singh’s trip to the Baba Mandir en-route with the baton.
An unfazed Singh, however, maintained he had gone to display the baton to local villagers since it belongs to the people and that they had the right to ‘feel the object’, but instead, he alleged, they were being kept at bay during the official function.
Sikkim Olympic Association President P K Pradhan said the baton was the responsibility of the Delhi QBR, Commonwealth Games team.
Later, the Sikkim police officials said the Baton was ceremonially handed over to the West Bengal counterparts at the Rangpo check-post at around 10:30am, after the Sikkim leg.
Across Rangpo, the Kalimpong District Administration welcomed and felicitated the CWG delegation with Gorkha topis, traditional khadas and ritual tikas. People from all walks of life welcomed the Queen’s Baton to the Darjeeling hills with full enthusiasm and ceremonial fanfare.
The ceremonial welcome of Queen’s Baton was witnessed by thousands of people across the Sikkim border at Rangpo.
The Queen’s Baton of the XIX Commonwealth Games was then received by the Darjeeling District administrative officers from their counterparts from the Sikkim Olympic Association Authority at Rangpo.
The Queen’s Baton relay was handed over by the President of the Sikkim Olympic Association, PK Pradhan to the Additional District Magistrate of Darjeeling, West Bengal DD Sherpa.
From the ADM of Darjeeling it was then handed over to Amiyas Tshering, SDO of Kalimpong and to Bir Bahadur Chhetri, Olympic Hockey player and then passed over to Kalimpong’s renown footballer Urgen Lama and National Archer Paril Lepcha who participated in Baton Relay from Chitrey to Teesta.
At Teesta, The baton was then handed over to officials of the Queen’s Baton relay team led by its Director Kuldeep Banshtu at Teesta who led the baton on up towards Darjeeling.
The baton for the 19th Commonwealth Games was then received at the Darjeeling Martyr’s Memorial at Batasia, just outside Darjeeling town for a welcoming ceremony.
Eighteen sports personalities had been selected for the relay from Batasia loop to Gymkahana club.
Dorjee Latoo started the relay from Batasia which concluded with Saharman Dewan at Gymkhana club.
The Baton is scheduled to reside in Darjeeling before being escourted to Siliguri. The Queen’s Baton will then be handed to Mantu Ghosh a renowned Tennis Player at Sukna.
Renowned cricketer Saurav Ganguly is also expected to be present at Siliguri for the ceremonial XIX CWG Queen’s Baton Relay there.