Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the historic 44th Olympic Chess torch relay on June 19, marking the start of the relay at 5pm from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Stadium. He will also deliver a speech at this meeting.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich will hand the torch to Prime Minister Modi, who will in turn pass it on to Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand.
Starting in the nation’s capital, the historic Olympic Torch Relay will travel across the country (75 cities in 40 days) before reaching its destination, Mahabalipuram, on July 27. Leh, Srinagar, Jaipur, Surat, Mumbai, Bhopal, Patna, Kolkata, Gangtok, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thrissur, Port Blair and Kanyakumari will be among the 75 cities.
The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has introduced the Olympic Torch Relay tradition to its Olympics from this year’s event and has designated India as the starting point for each edition, commemorating the popularity of chess in the sport’s home country.
“I am very happy to be a part of this historic moment. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of the Olympic torch relay and now we have that in chess too. But the most amazing thing is that he will always start from India. And as an Indian, I am very proud of that fact,” five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand said while speaking to the media at a press conference in Delhi on Friday.
Indian Chess Federation (AICF) President Sanjay Kapoor and AICF Secretary and Olympic Director Bharat Singh Chauhan were also present at the event, along with Chief Strategy Officer Tech Mahindra, Jagdish Mitra and Ms. Apoorva, Principal Secretary. government of Tamil Nadu.
“Olympic Chess Torch Relay is a great way to popularize this sport in India. We have ensured that it visits and covers all corners of the country, inspiring many. It will be a unique experience for everyone. I think this will go a long way in making India a world chess powerhouse,” said Chauhan.
“The Torch Relay Olympics will add another golden chapter in Indian sporting history and, starting with India in each edition, it will inspire generations to embrace the sport. On behalf of the federation, we thank the esteemed Prime Minister Modi ji for accepting our invitation. An event of such magnitude requires a lot of effort and we are fortunate to have received support from everyone, including the government and other stakeholders,” added AICF President Kapoor.
The 44th edition of the world’s biggest chess event will be held in Mahabalipuram near Chennai from 28 July to 10 August. In the nearly 100 year history of the Chess Olympics, this is the first time India has hosted this prestigious event.
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