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Neetu Chandra with Commonwealth Games torch


As New Delhi gets ready to host the Commonwealth Games in October 2010, actress Neetu Chandra became one of the few privileged Bollywood celebrities to have the honour of running with the Commonwealth Games torch (popularly known as the Queen’s Baton) in her hometown Patna, this week.

Neetu was selected for the relay, owing to her active association in sports. Apart from being a regular basketball player, the actress is a Black Belt 2nd Dan, having participated in various martial arts tournaments at a district, national, as well as international level.

“The Commonwealth Games promote international integration, so it was a huge honour for me to sprint with the torch. I got goose bumps in excitement,” she exclaimed after the run. “The Queen’s Baton felt like a ‘power baton’ and gave me a different kind of high. It was a mix of pride and responsibility,” Neetu added. Way to go, girl!

More about the Queen’s Baton relay:
The Queen’s Baton relay began when the baton, which contains Queen Elizabeth II’s message to the athletes, left Buckingham Palace on 29 October 2009. The baton reached India last month, through Wagah Border from Pakistan. Currently in Bihar, it is headed to West Bengal next. It will arrive at the 2010 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on October 3, 2010, having visited the other 70 nations of the Commonwealth and travelling throughout India, reaching millions of people to join in the celebrations for the Games.

The baton was designed by Michael Foley, a graduate of the National Institute of Design. It is a triangular section of aluminium twisted into a helix shape and then coated with coloured soils, collected from all regions of India. The coloured soils are a first for the styling of a Queen’s Baton. A jewel-encrusted box has been used to house the Queen’s message, which is laser-engraved onto a miniature 18-carat gold leaf – representative of the ancient Indian patras. The Queen’s Baton is ergonomically contoured for ease of use. It is 664 millimetres high, 34 millimetres wide at the base, and 86 millimetres wide at the top and weighs 1,900 grams.

It has a number of technological features, including the ability to capture images and sound. It has global positioning system (GPS) technology, so that the baton’s location can be tracked. It has embedded light emitting diodes (LEDs) which change into the colours of a country’s flag whilst in that country. The baton also has a text messaging capability so that people can send messages of congratulations and encouragement to the Baton bearers throughout relay.