Her Majesty The Queen Launches Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton
Her Majesty The Queen launched the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay on its global journey today (Wednesday 9 October) in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace attended by some of Scotland’s greatest athletes, inspirational young people and senior representatives from across the Commonwealth.
The Queen placed Her message calling the athletes of the Commonwealth to next summer’s Games inside a baton specially crafted in Scotland which will now travel to the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth before being opened at the Opening Ceremony.
HRH Prince Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation and Lord Smith, Chairman of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, took part in the ceremony, whilst sprint legend Allan Wells MBE, winner of two Commonwealth gold medals and the 100m Olympic title at the 1980 Olympic Games, was the first athlete to receive the baton, joined by honorary batonbearer Monica Dzonzi, UNICEF youth ambassador from Malawi.
They were then supported by further batonbearers from Team Scotland: Olympic swimmer and double Commonwealth gold medallist Caitlin McLatchey; Gymnast and Olympic bronze medallist Daniel Purvis; along with young athletes from the Glasgow School of Sport gymnast Cara Kennedy; triple jumper Morgan McKinnon and swimmer Ruairi Kirkwood.
Joining the athletes were Glasgow 2014’s first selected Games-time volunteer, known as Clyde-siders, Izzy Conway; Glasgow 2014 Tartan designer Aamir Mehmood; former Scotland’s Strongest Man Gregor Edmunds; passionate advocate for Para-Sport at Glasgow 2014 Julie McElroy; Glasgow 2014 Mascot designer Beth Gilmour and the Official Glasgow 2014 Mascot Clyde.
Seventy young people chosen by UNICEF UK, the world’s leading children’s organisation and international charity partner of the Games, carried flags from the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
Crowds gathered outside the Palace as the celebrations began when Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Olympic gold medallist, double Commonwealth champion and UNICEF UK ambassador, was the Baton’s special escort as it made the processional journey to the ceremony accompanied by the Pipes and Drums of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards and Pipes and Drums 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (Royal Scots Borderers).
Senior representatives of Glasgow 2014 Games Partners including First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council also attended.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is the world’s most engaging relay, a special tradition of the Games that unites the two billion citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport, diversity and peace.
It is a unique and dynamic opportunity for Glasgow and Scotland to connect with all of nations and territories of the Commonwealth, sharing the excitement and opportunities of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games as well as our culture, creativity and enterprise.
The baton returns to Scotland tomorrow where, in Stirling, the Scottish route and details of the recruitment of the 4,000 Scottish Batonbearers required will be revealed.
Later that day the baton will depart Scotland for Delhi – host city of the 2010 Commonwealth Games – from where it will visit every nation and territory of the Commonwealth, before travelling the length and breadth of Scotland on the way to its final destination – the Opening Ceremony.
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: “The beginning of the Queen’s Baton Relay is a significant milestone ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games for athletes around the world.
“Team Scotland is proud to be the host CGA for the relay in Scotland, and I am delighted that six of our athletes have been able to take part in the ceremony today. Having Allan Wells as the first batonbearer is a great reminder of the last Scottish Games in 1986, while we have also seen our current generation and potential stars of the future running with the baton today.”
Olympic and Commonwealth legend Allan Wells, MBE said: “As the final runner of the Queen’s Baton Relay at the last Games on Scottish soil in Edinburgh in 1986, it has been a real honour for me to receive the baton from Her Majesty the Queen and to be the first Batonbearer for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“To be involved in the ceremony at Buckingham Palace and to see the baton begin its journey is hugely exciting and I know that everyone who comes into contact with it over the next few months will be caught up in that excitement ahead of the Games.”
Batonbearer, Scottish gymnast and Olympic bronze medallist, Dan Purvis said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is a huge part of the Commonwealth Games and it is an honour to have been one of the first people to run with it.
“The baton will travel round the world, and it is really exciting to think that when we see it again in Scotland we’ll be just 40 days away from the start of the Games. As it makes its way round the country I hope as many people as possible get the chance to see it, and I am sure it will inspire the nation to get behind Team Scotland.”