With 500 days until the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games open, it has been announced that Queen’s Baton will embark on the longest and most accessible relay in Commonwealth Games history, arriving in Scotland in August 2017.
Leaving London on Commonwealth Day, 13 March 2017, the Baton will cover 230,000km over 388 days, as it makes its way through the six Commonwealth regions of Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania. For the first time, the Baton will be present at the Commonwealth Youth Games, which take place in Nassau, Bahamas from 19-23 July 2017.
One of the most iconic symbols of the Commonwealth Games, the distinctive loop design revealed by Gold Coast 2018 organisers today, will be the centerpiece of the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR), a Games tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride and excites people about the world-class festival of sport and culture to come.
Designed for each Games by the host nation, the Queen’s Baton bears a personal message to the athletes of the Commonwealth from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which is carried by thousands of batonbearers on a journey from Buckingham Palace to the Opening Ceremony of the Games.
The 2018 Queen’s Baton, made using macadamia wood and reclaimed plastic sourced from Gold Coast waterways, and inspired by the region’s vibrant spirit and indigenous heritage, will finally land on Australian soil in December 2017. The Baton will then spend 100 days travelling through Australia, finishing its journey at the Opening Ceremony on 4 April 2018, where the message will be removed from the Baton and read aloud by Her Majesty or a representative.
Commonwealth Games Federation President, Louise Martin CBE said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is a much-loved Games tradition – an epic journey that unites the cultures and communities of our diverse and dynamic Commonwealth. One single Baton passes between thousands of young people and communities across many terrains and time zones – carrying and protecting Her Majesty’s message to the athletes and citizens of the Commonwealth.
“We hope as many people as possible get to hold or celebrate the baton as we bring a piece of the Games to every participating nation and territory in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.”
The Baton will travel through Scotland from 22-28 August 2017, with Commonwealth Games Scotland responsible for selecting the inspiring individuals who will act as batonbearers. Plans are already underway for an exciting programme of events and a chance for supporters to getbehind Team Scotland in the lead up to the Games. More details will be announced in due course.
In 2014, athlete Eilidh Doyle had the honour of bringing the Queen’s Baton into Scotland after a handover with twice Olympic and three time Commonwealth decathlon champion Daley Thompson on Coldstream Bridge.
“It was an honour to be a baton bearer, but to be the first in Scotland and to actually bring the baton over the border was something really special’” she said.
“It was also incredible to have the baton handed over by Daley Thompson who is such an athletics legend. It definitely felt like the Games had begun at that moment and it just made me so excited about what was to come. The Queen’s Baton Relay definitely signals the start of the Games.”
Paul Bush OBE, Chair, Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is an important part of the journey for each Commonwealth Games and provided so many memories in the lead up to Glasgow 2014. The Baton arriving in Scotland in August 2017 marks a fantastic opportunity for our local communities, schools and athletes to engage with the Games which will take place on the other side of the world.
“The support Team Scotland had for Glasgow 2014 was phenomenal and I look forward to seeing that passion again as the Queen’s Baton travels through Scotland next year.”