Following a successful first two days of its Scotland tour in Glasgow and Islay, the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay headed north, with youth a strong focus in a range of school and community events in Dundee, Angus and Aberdeen.
Ailsa Wylie, Team Scotland Hockey representative at both the Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, began proceedings in her hometown of Dundee as she carried the Baton into Clepington Primary School, a sportscotland gold standard sports award school, to an enthusiastic reception. The excitement stepped up another notch with the appearance of Team Scotland mascot Clyde, who joined pupils for a morning of Australian and Commonwealth themed activities.
Councillor Bill Campbell, at Clepington Primary in his role as Young People’s Champion, said: “This is fantastic for Dundee and it’s fantastic for the school. The kids are all very excited and this is something that they’ll be able to look back on in years to come and say that they were part of. The Queen’s Baton Relay is such a special thing and it keeps the momentum of the Commonwealth Games going by connecting memories of when we had the Games in Scotland a few years ago with the next Games in Australia.”
Next stop for the Baton was the Bon Scott statue in Kirriemuir, celebrating the famous Australian-Scot lead singer of ACDC. To the sounds of the group’s well known music played on the bagpipes, the local community came out to greet the Baton and meet Batonbearer, Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls gold medallist, Darren Burnett.
The presence of the Baton brings Gold Coast 2018 one step closer for athletes, as Team Scotland aims for its best ever medal haul at an overseas Games and Darren is looking to be back on Team Scotland for a shot at repeating his triumph of the Glasgow 2014 Games.
“Glasgow 2014 was so special, not just for the athletes who competed but for everyone in Scotland,” he said.
“It’s fantastic to see people out supporting Team Scotland and the Commonwealth Games again today as the Queen’s Baton Relay makes its way around the country. Having the Baton here makes Gold Coast 2018 feel that bit closer and I would love to do Scotland proud with another medal at the Games next April.”
A busy morning over, the Baton was back on the road, this time to Aberdeen Sports Village, where a huge community event incorporating an Australia-themed high tea and a ‘School’s Back’ sports day involving over 1,000 schoolchildren were in full flow. Glasgow 2014 Wrestling medallist, Viorel Etko and multiple Commonwealth Games medallist in Shooting, Neil Stirton, were on hand to inspire the next generation as they tried out a range of Commonwealth Games sports.
Duncan Sinclair, CEO, Aberdeen Sports Village said: “Everyone at ASV had a fantastic time welcoming and celebrating the Queen’s Baton Relay to Aberdeen. ASV is dedicated to offering sporting opportunities for everyone, helping people achieve their very best, so we were absolutely thrilled to be part of such an exciting event warming up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.”
The finale to the day’s proceedings was a reception at Stirling Castle, hosted by the Scottish Government, to celebrate the success of Team Scotland’s young athletes at the Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games. The 40-strong team returned with an impressive 21 medals, including eight gold, the best performance by a Scottish team since the 2004 event in Bendigo, Australia where far fewer nations participated. Bahamas 2017 was also the first time the Queen’s Baton had visited a Youth Games as part of its global tour, helping to inspire the next generation of athletes.
The assembled guests welcomed the Queen’s Baton into the Great Hall, carried in by Youth Games flagbearer, boxer Lewis Johnstone. Awards representing the Team Scotland values of Proud, United, Ambitious, Inspirational and Inclusive were presented to athletes by Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Public Health and Sport, and former Scotland Rugby 7s captain, Colin Gregor, who led the team at Bahamas 2017 as General Team Manager.
Swimmer Scot McLay, who became Scotland’s most successful Youth Games athlete in history with three gold, one silver and one bronze at Bahamas 2017, was named as Athlete of the Games.
Paul Bush OBE, Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “It is great to see the Queen’s Baton Relay making such an impact up and down the country, with so many people getting the opportunity to touch the Gold Coast 2018 Baton on its global journey. The reception for our Team Scotland athletes, not to mention our mascot Clyde, has been quite overwhelming and hopefully this wave of support will continue to build, up to next year’s Commonwealth Games.
“It was really special to have the Baton here at Stirling Castle tonight as part of our Commonwealth Youth Games celebrations and I am confident that many of these young athletes will be truly inspired to go on and represent Team Scotland at senior level in years to come.”
Minister for Sport, Aileen Campbell said: “It’s great to be able to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Scotland during its journey around the Commonwealth. There has been tremendous enthusiasm across Scotland as the Baton has toured the country, rekindling fond memories of the Games in 2014.
“Scotland hosted the most successful Commonwealth Games ever in Glasgow 2014 and our firm aim is to achieve our best away Games ever in Australia next year.”