Delhi to host Olympic Torch relay on April 17

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New Delhi, Feb 1 (UNI) Top sportspersons will carry the Olympic Torch which will arrive here on April 17 enroute to Beijing.

Eighty torch bearers will be part of the Olympic Torch relay which will start from Red Fort and end with a cultural extravaganza at India Gate.

Announcing this here today, Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of 29th Olympiad (BOCOG) Executive Vice President Jiang Xiaoyu said,''The Organising Committee for Beijing Olympics in consultation with Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have finalised New Delhi as the one of the venues for the Beijing Olympics Torch Relay.'' The 80 torch bearers will include 57 members from the Natioanl Olympic Committee, five from the BOCOG while the sponsors will have 18 representatives.

IOA President Suresh Kalmadi who was also present on the occasion said, ''Earlier, Mumbai was considered as the possible venue but due to logistics problems and Global route plan, Delhi was considered to be the most convinient place.'' A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed between IOA and BOCOG for Olympic Torch Relay services to be organised at Delhi.

Meanwhile, Kalmadi also said that the Chinese government has proposed that after the Olympics are over in Beijing, all the equipments could be handed over to India so that the athletes can prepare for Commonwealth Games 2010 with better facilities.

Kalmadi added, ''It's a great gesture on their part but more than that if our athletes can train in China along with their coaches for Commonwealth Games, it will be highly benificial for them.'' Mr Xiaoyu has assured he will convey the IOA's message to the Chinese government about the training facilities of Indian athletes.

He said, ''The Beijing Olympic Committee did not participate in the Indian Prime Minister's meeting with the Chinese government officials, so we are not aware of the transfer of intellectual property to India after the Games.'' Kalmadi added he will visit China on April 5 and will start the dialogue on various issues with the Olympic Committee there.

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