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Sir Chris Hoy: Games are starting to feel very real

Britain's most successful Olympic champion, Sir Chris Hoy, has said "the UK's next major sporting event is starting to feel very real" as the Queen's Baton for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games arrived in London.

Sir Chris, whose two gold medals at the London 2012 Games made him a six-time Olympic cycle champion, was on the Millennium Bridge, in central London, as part of the countdown to next month's Commonwealth Games.

The Queen's Baton, which contains a message from the Queen that will be read out at the July 23 opening ceremony, arrived on the Queen's official barge, the Gloriana.

Sir Chris said: "It's been an honour to take part in such a unique event here in London. There is so much excitement for the Games right across the country. With the arrival of the Queen's Baton in to London, just a week before its homecoming in to Scotland, the UK's next major sporting event is starting to feel very real. I'll be in Glasgow cheering on the athletes, and I hope everyone else will be too."

The retired Scottish rider, former swimming champion Rebecca Adlington, plus gymnast Louis Smith, who is hoping to compete for England at the Games, were greeted by youngsters who were trying out a series of sports including cycling, gymnastics and boxing.

Smith performed on a high bar balanced over the Thames River.

The Queen's Baton has been on a 198,000km journey across the Commonwealth and visited 70 nations and territories in an effort to build excitement ahead of the multi-sports tournament.

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games take place from July 23 to August 3.

Smith, who captained the men's team to a bronze medal at London 2012 before winning a silver on the pommel horse, said: "I've obviously got my fingers crossed that I'll be competing in Glasgow next month, I've put the work in and now it's just down to the selectors.

"Today's event has been great fun and performing on top of the parallel bars overlooking the Thames has definitely been different! To everyone already going to Glasgow I'm confident that the Games will be a great event and it's exciting to have a sporting event of this scale back in the UK."

Glasgow 2014 chairman Lord Smith described it as "a thrilling moment", adding: "With the Queen's Baton travelling through London this weekend, through England next week and making its way back to Scotland a week today, the final countdown to the Games has well and truly begun.

"The stage is set, Glasgow and Scotland are gearing up to welcome the athletes of the Commonwealth and to host a great sporting and cultural festival. Our goal is to deliver the best Commonwealth Games ever and we're ready to welcome the world."

The Queen's Baton travels to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park tomorrow where a full sports participation day will be hosted and open to the public.

When it reaches Scotland on June 14, it will start a 40-day journey through 400 communities across Scotland.

Up to 4,000 people will carry Her Majesty's message, before it is read out at the opening ceremony.

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