Mumbai, Sept 7 : Next month's Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) in Pune is not just about sports. It's going to be India's biggest attempt to connect sports with environment issues.
With conservation and Save the Tiger top on their minds hundreds of sports personalities and athletes are taking part in a baton relay that crisscrosses the entire breadth of India.
The relay that started from New Delhi has now reached Mumbai after traversing 4000 kilometers, cutting through the Indian heartland.
Bollywood actor and rugby player, Rahul Bose and Dhanraj Pillai, former hockey team captain were among those who cheered on the athletes as the baton relay started off from Mumbai on Sunday.
Officials said Maharashtra was all set to hold the first ever commonwealth games with environmental awareness as its motif.
"The relay which started from Delhi University to Pune University, it has already done 4000 kilometers in six states and now is on its way to Goa, Karnataka, whole of Maharashtra and finally to Pune University. Well our objective is to save tiger, that is one of our main project and also to promote green games. This is the first time that the commonwealth games has ever singed up with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and green games, some have made a special effort and we have got various people on board," said Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the CYG organising committee who flagged off the baton relay.
At least hundred swimmers who plunged into the Arabian Sea at the historical Gateway of India in Mumbai will now swim along with the baton.
Some 71-commonwealth nations are expected to take part in the third CYG scheduled to begin from October 12.
The inaugural CYG was held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2000 in which 14 countries participated. The second edition was held in Bendigo, Australia in December 2004 that saw the participation of 24 countries.
CYG is held once in four years.