XXI Commonwealth Games – Queen’s baton relay starts today

The traditional Queen’s baton arrived here yesterday and it will tour the coast of Mahé today before travelling to Praslin and La Digue tomorrow.

The baton arrived in Seychelles yesterday on board a regular Kenya Airways flight, accompanied by the Queen’s baton team and the head of the Regional Games Committee and the vice-president of the Commonwealth Games Federation Miriam Moyo.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place in Gold Coast, Australia next year and the baton reached Seychelles on the ninth leg of its 70 country journey.

Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) president Antonio Gopal received the Queen’s baton upon arrival before handing it over to Youth, Sports and Culture Minister Idith Alexander, in the presence of sports principal secretary Fabian Palmyre, National Sports Council (NSC) chief executive Giovanna Rousseau, British high commissioner Caron Rohsler and Australian high commissioner Susan Coles who had flown all the way from Mauritius to attend the event, and some school children.

The baton was then taken to the Seychelles International Airport, where the guests had the opportunity to exchange pleasantries and take photos with it.

The relay will start at 9am today at Beau Vallon and the baton will go to Bel Ombre, Glacis, Anse Etoile, Victoria, Mont Fleuri, Roche Caïman, Cascade, Pointe Larue, Anse Aux Pins, Anse Royale, Takamaka, Baie Lazare, Anse Boileau and Grand Anse. Tomorrow it will be on Praslin and La Digue.

The Queen’s baton weighs 1.3kg and it is the lightest ever according to the Queen’s baton relay marketing and communication manager Trish Quayle.

“The elements of the Queen’s baton represents the past, the present and the future. The past is represented by the macadamia wood on the back of the baton, which is indigenous to the Gold Coast, the present is characterised by the stainless steel stringer in the middle of the baton, which has all the nations the baton will visit in the order they will be visited and the future is represented by the front leading edge, made from recycled plastic from the oceans and waterways and that’s a message of sustainability which is relevant for the whole Commonwealth,” added Ms Quayle.

The baton will be on its longest ever journey as it covers 230km, visiting every Commonwealth territory along the way.

The XXI Commonwealth Games will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from April 4-15, 2018. It will be the fifth time Australia hosts the Commonwealth Games.

One of the key technical aspects of Gold Coast City’s successful bid was the fact that the city already has 80 percent of the planned venues in place. The vast majority of venues are located within 20-minute driving time of the Athletes Village in Parkwood and are broadly grouped into three areas ‒ Central Gold Coast City, North Gold Coast City and South Gold Coast City. The only sports that will be held outside of Gold Coast City will be track cycling and the preliminary rounds of basketball which will be held in Brisbane and Cairns/Townsville respectively, along with shooting which will be held in neighbouring Belmont.

The Commonwealth dates back to the mid-20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which established the member states as “free and equal”. The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II who is the Head of the Commonwealth. The Queen is also the monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms. The other Commonwealth members have different heads of state: 31 members are republics and five are monarchies with a different monarch.

Member states have no legal obligation to one another. Instead, they are united by language, history, culture and their shared values of democracy, free speech, human rights, and the rule of law. These values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games.


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