Ascension : Queens Baton Relay – Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games
Submitted by The Islander (Islander Editors) 18.02.2010 (Article Archived on 04.03.2010)
The Queen’s Baton Relay is one of the great traditions of the Commonwealth Games. It symbolises the gathering of people from across the Commonwealth at a four yearly festival of sports and culture.
Queens Baton Relay – Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games
The Queen’s Baton Relay is one of the great traditions of the Commonwealth Games. It symbolises the gathering of people from across the Commonwealth at a four yearly festival of sports and culture. The Queen’s Baton Relay has been a curtain raiser to every one of the Commonwealth Games since Cardiff in 1958. The relay traditionally begins with a commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace where the Queen entrusts the baton containing her “Message to the athletes” to the first baton bearer. The relay concludes at the opening ceremony of the Games when the message is read out aloud. The relay ends and the games begin.
For the 2010 Delhi Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay commenced from Buckingham Palace, London, on the 29th October 2009. The baton will then travel through all of the Commonwealth nations. By the end of its journey, the baton will have traversed over 190,000 kilometres in 340 days, making the Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 Delhi one of the longest relays in the history of the Commonwealth Games.
On the current baton, the Queen’s message has been engraved onto a miniature 18 carat gold leaf. The baton stands at 664 millimetres high. It is 34 millimetres wide at the base, and 86 millimetres wide at the top and weighs 1.9 kilograms. Its features include a camera and recording device, giving it the ability to capture images and sounds as it travels. It also has the latest global positioning system (GPS) technology through which the exact location of the baton can be tracked on the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi website, and Embedded LEDs which will change into the colours of a country’s flag whilst in that country.
This year we were fortunate to have the baton pass through Ascension on its way from St Helena to the Falkland Islands. It arrived here on the RMS St Helena on the 10th February. The baton was carried through immigration by Mrs. Carrie Thomas who represented the islands in the 1982 Commonwealth Games. She then handed it on to Lisa Lawrence, Errol Herne and Sheena Johnson, all of whom have also represented the islands in different sports events. The team was also accompanied by Donald Johnson who had an invaluable input in the previous games and many other sporting events on the island. The baton was then carried across to a waiting group of young people who were representatives of the youth contingencies on the island, Beavers, Rainbows, Brownies, Cubs, Guides and Scouts. There was also a small gathering of members of the public who were able to see the baton up close. The party then carried the baton up through the town to the Government Office building where they were met by the Administrator, Mr. Ross Denny. During its stay on the island, the baton was displayed in the various clubs around the island where everyone was welcome to see it and hold it. There were good turnouts at all of the venues. On Friday morning it was taken to the school where the children were able to see it. Children also had the honour of actually carrying the baton on a run on Friday afternoon, when a relay of the Dewpond Run was arranged for all of the youth organisations on the island. There was an excellent turnout and it was enjoyed by all. In addition to the published events, the baton team drove themselves around the island, meeting different people and photographing the baton at different locations.
It was a privilege to have had the baton pass through here and I would like to thank the baton bearers, Jason, Shivansh and Meena for their time and patience. Thanks also to the Shipping staff for the arrival arrangements, the Administrator, the youth leaders, the Club managers, the headmistress and school staff for allowing the children time to join us on arrival, and the Police for their invaluable support throughout.
I hope Ascension will be included in the route of the next baton in four years time.