Meerut (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 26 (ANI): The first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay reached the city of Meerut on Saturday.
Uttar Pradesh Minister, Dr Somendra Tomar received the torch from Grandmaster Tejas Bakre and handed it over to Grandmaster G Akash.
"1st Ever #ChessOlympiadTorchRelay Update City - MEERUT: 25th June Hon. Minister Dr Somendra Tomar received the Torch from GM Tejas Bakre and handed it over to GM G Akash in presence of AICF President, Sanjay Kapoor," tweeted SAI Media.
Earlier in the day, the torch had reached Dehradun, where it was received by Minister Subodh Uniyal. Later, it travelled to Haridwar, where MLA, Adesh Chauhan received the torch.
Other cities that have been covered so far include Leh, Jammu, Srinagar, Dharamshala, Shimla, Chandigarh, Patiala, Amritsar, Panipat, Gurugram, and Kurukshetra.
The torch, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, began its relay from Leh.
The torch will travel in 75 cities for 40 days before it culminates at Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. 189 countries are participating in the Chess Olympiad. Chess grandmasters will receive the torch at various identified venues.
This year, for the very first time, the International Chess Body, FIDE, has instituted the Chess Olympiad Torch which is part of Olympic tradition but was never done in the Chess Olympiad. India will be the first-ever country to have the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay.
The 44th edition of the world's biggest chess event will be held in Mahabalipuram near Chennai from July 28 to August 10.
In nearly 100 years of the history of the Chess Olympiad, it's the first time that India will be hosting this prestigious event. With 188 countries registered for the upcoming Olympiad, Indian sporting history is also set to witness a huge congregation of countries on Indian soil for the first time at an event.
Moreover, AICF has unveiled a social media campaign 'Namaste World', welcoming the chess community from around the world for this event.
AICF had earlier announced two Indian teams each in the open and women's sections as the 44th Chess Olympiad has attracted 343 teams in both sections. (ANI)