There was definitely a sporty theme to today’s activities on the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay visit which centred on Stirling and Falkirk, where hundreds of young people were excited to be connecting with Team Scotland and the Commonwealth Games.
The day started at St Ninians Primary School in Stirling, well known for its ‘Daily Mile’ activity which encourages all school pupils to be physically active. The arrival of the Baton was also a chance to celebrate St Ninians link to Coolangatta State School as part of the Gold Coast 2018 Schools Connect programme.
Pupils were joined by Batonbearer and Team Scotland Para-Athlete Sammi Kinghorn, fresh from success at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London where she won two gold and one bronze medal on the track.
There to enjoy the proceedings, along with John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Public Health and Sport, Convener of Stirling Council’s Education Committee Susan McGill said: “The Daily Mile, introduced in St Ninians Primary in Stirling, is a powerful tool to improve children’s fitness and I am proud that our schools led the way in improving children’s health.
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is an iconic symbol of the Commonwealth Games and the involvement of St Ninians pupils will inspire pride in the local community and across the region.”
The Baton then headed to Falkirk where rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the large contingent of school children at a Commonwealth themed schools’ festival at the Helix and Kelpies. The McIntosh sisters, originally from Falkirk, took the Queen’s Baton on a lap of the iconic landmark, accompanied by a group of ‘mini batonbearers’ from local schools. Jennifer is Team Scotland’s most decorated female athlete of all time and along with sister Seonaid, became European Champions in small bore rifle shooting last month.
Paul Finnie, Sport and Recreation Manager at Falkirk Community Trust said “We’re delighted to welcome the Queen’s Baton relay to our facilities, namely Grangemouth Stadium and The Helix. We are so very proud of the athletes who are training and developing in the Falkirk area and look forward to cheering on Team Scotland in 2018!”
The last stop of the day was to the University of Stirling, home of Team Scotland and high performance sport to meet with students linked to the Commonwealth and Team Scotland athletes past and present.
Amongst the sports stars there to carry the Baton were Anna Sloan, Curling Olympic bronze medallist; swimming World medallist, Duncan Scott and Ross Murdoch, Glasgow 2014 gold medallist.
The QBR also visited the sportscotland Institute of Sport – meeting the ‘team behind the team’ who are helping to prepare Team Scotland athletes for the Commonwealth Games. There the Baton was led in by David Somerville, Commonwealth Games silver medallist in Judo and member of Team Scotland 2018 general team management.
There was also some ‘home’ support for the Gold Coast 2018 Baton from Mayor Mark Jamieson of Sunshine Coast Council, Queensland, who are hosting the Team Scotland Team Camp ahead of next year’s Games. He enjoyed the opportunity to hear more about the Team’s preparation plans from Mike Whittingham, Director of the sportscotland institute of sport and members of the Team Camp staff.
Welcoming Mayor Jamieson to Scotland, Team Scotland Chef de Mission Jon Doig OBE said: “The key to Team Scotland’s success has always been in our planning and preparation and the Team Camp has always played a vital part in developing our strong team ethos and ensuring everyone is in the best possible shape for the Games.
“We are delighted with the strong partnerships we are developing with Mayor Jamieson and colleagues on the Sunshine Coast. Backed by the excellent support we receive from the sportscotland institute of sport, we are confident that the facilities and environment on the Sunshine Coast and at Twin Waters, will provide the ideal home from home for the athletes as they adjust to the travel, climate, culture and the unique multi-sport environment of the Commonwealth Games.
“With the Games in Australia only seven months away, we are now finalising our plans and everyone is working hard to ensure we can deliver our best ever overseas Games performance.”