Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by The Earl of Wessex, launched the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay on its global journey today in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace attended by athlete Batonbearers from each of the Home Nations, young flagbearers from the West Midlands, the Birmingham 2022 Hometown Heroes and representatives from across the Commonwealth.
The Queen placed Her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton, for it to be sealed and locked and will now visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth over the next 294 days, covering 90,000 miles. The journey will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022 where the Queen’s message will be read out in full.
Four-time Paralympic gold medallist, Kadeena Cox, had the honour of being the first Batonbearer to receive the Baton from The Queen, marking the official start of the 16th Queen’s Baton Relay. She then handed on to a team of athletes from across the Home Nations who continued the journey from the Palace to Marlborough House.
Team Scotland was represented by two-time Commonwealth Games hockey player Sarah Robertson, who marked her Olympic debut with a bronze medal in Tokyo this summer. She was paired with Team England gymnast Alice Kinsella on the third leg of the relay, receiving the Baton from Team England squash player Declan James and Team Wales boxer Lauren Price and handing over to Team Northern Ireland cyclist Mark Downey.
The ceremony, hosted by BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan, included performances from Birmingham-based acapella group Black Voices, a live-streamed performance from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Birmingham Poet Laureate and Birmingham 2022 Legacy and Benefits Committee member Casey Bailey wrote and performed a poem called “Take It On”.
As it nears the end of its journey next year, the Baton will be in Scotland between 17-23 June 2022 and the arrival of the Baton on Scottish soil will bring the Games one step closer for athletes and supporters. Plans are already underway for an exciting programme of events and a chance for supporters to get behind Team Scotland in the lead up to the Games. More details will be announced in due course.
Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin DBE said: “I am absolutely delighted we have finally arrived at this special moment, the launch of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay!
“This is a very important day for Commonwealth Sport as the message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visits our 72 nations and territories in this unique Baton. Traveling for 294 days, and covering 140,000 kilometres, the Queen’s Baton Relay provides Birmingham and the West Midlands the opportunity to showcase itself on a global scale.
“It marks the final countdown to the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony on 28 July and provides hope, harmony and cooperation across the Commonwealth at a time when it is needed most.”
Birmingham 2022 will welcome 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories for 11 days of spectacular sport, from 28 July – 8 August 2022.
For more information on the Queen’s Baton Relay and to follow the Baton’s journey, visit birmingham2022.com/qbr