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Commonwealth Baton heads to Malta via Main Street

Queen's Baton Relay 2017 ( Photo John Bugeja) 18-09-17 walk from Casemates to No.6 Convent with baton bearers

The Commonwealth Baton made its final journey around the Rock yesterday before heading off to Malta.

The Baton bearers paraded down Main Street where they were met by curious on-lookers scrambling to snap photos of the team.

The 30-strong team was flanked by two Royal Gibraltar Police officers on motorbikes who guided them through their short journey.

The Baton was relayed from Casemates Square down Main Street to No.6 Convent Place where it was greeted by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Deputy Governor Nick Pyle and the President of the Commonwealth Games Association of Gibraltar, Harry Murphy.

Athletes from the Special Olympics set off with the Baton, which changed hands seven times on its short journey.

Along the way the Baton was passed between athletes and stopped at City Hall where it was greeted by Mayor Kaiane Aldorino Lopez.

Athletes Joe Santos, Nathan Payas, Emma Bosio, Mairead Sherriff, Matt Savitz, Nathan Stagno, Benji Borastero and Charo Romero all took their turn holding the Baton during the walk.

For the final leg of the relay the former President of the Commonwealth Games Association of Gibraltar, Charlie Flower, carried the Baton before passing it on to the Mr Murphy.

“Receiving the Baton was absolutely fantastic,” Mr Murphy said.

“Charlie and I go by a long time and I have massive respect for him. He is one of the individuals that has given most to sport locally in my opinion and it was a really emotional experience.”

This will be Mr Murphy’s first Commonwealth Games as President, but he has been involved for 33 years. He competed in five games and for the last two games has been the head of delegation.

“I am quite happy with the situation and I am dealing with people I have known for many years,” he said.

“One of the beautiful things about the Commonwealth Games is there are no regional controlling bodies. Gibraltar has one vote just like England, Australia or Canada has one vote.”

“There are 70 countries, with 70 representatives and 70 votes and I have been involved as secretary general in the Commonwealth Games Association for the last 12 years so I have experience dealing with the people within the Games that I will soon be meeting.”

It was an early start for the Commonwealth Baton team who arrived on the Rock earlier this week. The team from Commonwealth countries across the globe such as Australia and New Zealand began their day at the Upper Rock.

The team carried the Baton through Med Steps with a view of the sunrise, then moving on to the Sky Walk, Windsor Bridge, Apes Den and the Siege Tunnels.

The Baton has already toured all local middle schools and Mount Alvernia, yesterday’s event marked its last official tour before it departs on Thursday.

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