Pune, Oct 8 (UNI) The unique Youth Baton Relay (YBR) forming an integral part of the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) was today accorded a tumultuous welcome never seen before in the history of the historic city.
The city has been bedecked with arches, buntings, festoons and colourfull hoardings before the curtain goes to herald the third edition of the CYG on October 12 as the YBR received befitting welcome from the sporting people who have certainly risen to make the CYG a resounding success.
Carrying the baton in an open jeep was the Indian Olympic Association(IOA) President and the CYG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi (MP). The luminaries from field of sports namely Olympian shooter Anjali Vedphatak (Bhagwat), and home grown former hockey Olympian Dhanraj and chhatarapti awardee Trupti Murgunde among hosts of others.
Starting its journey from the oldest Kasba Peth ''Ganpati'', the relay team was given a traditional welcome by the city BJP (MLA) Girish Bapat and the Ganpati trustees before proceeding via Phadke Howd, Apollo Talkies, before entering into the Cantonment area.
Commissioner of Police (Pune) Satyapal Singh, displaying his love for sports, ran a kilometer from the Synagogue at Lal Deval till the Ambedkar statue at Aurora Towers. The Police Commissioner ran in the company of chhatrapati awardee in Kho-Kho Rajendra Dravid and many others former national and internationals players.
The other prominent dignitary who carried the baton was the Pune Cantonment Board President Brig R J Sharma from Aurora Tower till the Poona College.
Moving onwards, the relay moved via Shakarseth Road and reached Lohia Nagar where it was given yet another tradition welcome under the overall supervision of MLA Ramesh Bgawe and his Corporator son Avinash Bagwe.
After skirting the Mahatma Phule wade came to Timber Market and Ramoshi Gate chowk and went towards Bhavani Mata Mandir in Bhavani Peth.
Before going towards Bhavani Mata Mandir, a large number of boys and girls from the vernacular schools in the area welcomed and greeted the relay squad with cheers and slogans.
The relay then came to Quartergate and then to Sant Kabir Chowk. On reaching the spot, the dignitaries were moved to a two horse drawn carriage till City Post chowk via Laxmi Road.
The PMC Commissioner Pravinsinh Pardeshi then received the baton at the historic Shaniwarwada Fort and moving via Pune Municipal Corporation came to the headquarters of the Bank of Maharashtra at Lokmangal, who are the official bankers for the CYG.
The baton was received by the Chairman of the bank Allen C A Pereira and General Manager B K Pipariya. A number of awardees including arjuna awardees Shantram Jadhav, Surekha Dravid , Manisha Ghate, Shailesh Tamhankar, Mohini Chaphekar, Sanjay Joshi also participated in the relay.
The convoy moved via Janglee Maharaj Road, Balgandharwa, Alka Talkies Chowk where the YBR received a rousing welcome. Then came to Vishrambag Wada and after that to main Shivaji Market where equally grand reception was accorded to the relay.
It was indeed a matter of great pride that people greeted the baton relay team with great enthusiasm all throughout the marked route till coming to the Baburao Sanas ground near Sarasbag. The YBR will have a night halt at the University of Pune.
The YBR will commence it onward tour of the city from the statue of Anna Bhau Sathe near Sarasbag tomorrow at 0800 hours.
UNI IS MP BST0111