Hero Honda, India's leading motorcycle manufacturer, and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the state-owned power provider, both signed deals today to become major sponsors of next year's Commonweatlh Games in New Delhi.

Hero Honda are to become the official partner of the Queen's Baton Relay, which started at Buckingham Palace on October 29, and is currently touring the 70 countries and territories that will compete in next year's Games, which open on October 3.

Hero Honda motorcycles will escort the Baton when it arrives in India from the Wagah border in Pakistan next year.

It will travel almost 20,000 kilometres (12,000 miles) and through all the Indian states and their capitals on its 100-day journey.

Suresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the New Delhi organising committee, said: "I am very happy to take Hero Honda on board because with your associating with us, branding with us.

"I think it will be encouraging for all the private sector to join us for the Games."

Pawan Munjal, the chief executive of Hero Honda, said: "It is only natural for Hero Honda to be an active partner in the Games, as it has been actively promoting various disciplines of sports such as cricket, golf and hockey, including next year's World Cup in Delhi.

"There is a perfect synergy between our brand attributes and the values of optimism, hope, unity and the celebration of the human spirit that the Commonwealth Games imbibe.”

Kalmadi said: "The Queen’s Baton will enter India from the Wagah border after completing a journey of 170,000 kilometres (105,000 miles) across all Commonwealth countries.

"The baton will spread the message of ‘Peace through Sports’ as it enters India from Pakistan.

"Hero Hondo will play a prominent role in greeting the Baton in India and also when the Baton traverses the entire length and breadth of the country."

Article courtesy of Inside the Games. Contact the writer of this story at [email protected] .