Queen's Baton Relay to visit Gibraltar in May 2022
The Queen’s Baton Relay was formally launched yesterday with the baton set to arrive in Gibraltar on May 31, 2022.
The Queen has officially launched the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in a unique ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The baton will visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth for 294 days, covering 140,000 kilometres.
The Queen, accompanied by The Earl of Wessex, attended a special ceremony on the forecourt of the Palace to launch the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay.
They were joined by Batonbearers made up of athletes who will be competing in next year’s Games, young flagbearers from the West Midlands, the Birmingham 2022 Hometown Heroes and representatives from across the Commonwealth.
The global journey will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022.
The Baton was delivered to Buckingham Palace after being carried from Horse Guards Parade and down the Mall by the Birmingham 2022 Hometown Heroes, champions of grassroots sport in the West Midlands, who were accompanied by a Tri-Service military band.
One of the Hometown Heroes, Kevin Dillon, a boxing coach from Brierley Hill, brought the Baton to the stage, commencing the start of the ceremony.
The Baton was created in a West Midlands collaboration that fused art, technology, and science. Made from copper, aluminium and steel, the Baton also features a platinum strand in homage to Her Majesty The Queen in her Platinum Jubilee year. It is also equipped with cutting-edge technology; 360 degree-camera, heart rate monitor, atmospheric sensors and LED lighting.
“I am absolutely delighted we have finally arrived at this special moment, the launch of the Birmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay,” Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin DBE said.
“This is a very important day for Commonwealth Sport as the message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visits our 72 nations and territories in this unique Baton.”
She added: “It marks the final countdown to the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony on 28 July and provides hope, harmony and cooperation across the Commonwealth at a time when it is needed most.”
The Queen laced her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton, for it to be sealed and locked. The Queen’s message will be read out in full next year at the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony.
Four-time Paralympic gold medallist, Kadeena Cox, had the honour of being the first Batonbearer to receive the Baton from The Queen, marking the official start of the 16th Queen’s Baton Relay. She then passed it to Team England squash player Declan James and Team Wales boxer Lauren Price who were positioned at The Queen Victoria Memorial.
Further Batonbearers at the ceremony included athletes from Team England and artistic gymnast Alice Kinsella, Team Scotland hockey player Sarah Robertson, and Team Northern Ireland cyclist Mark Downey.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said: “We are honoured to host the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, where they will not only be carbon-neutral for the first time, but also feature the largest para-sport programme in their history.
“Birmingham represented the country today as the Queen’s Baton Relay began, connecting the United Kingdom with the 72 nations and territories taking part in the Games.
“2022 will be a year of pride and celebration, and we look forward to welcoming athletes and spectators next year.”
More than 70 young people from Birmingham lined the stage and held flags from all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth. The flagbearers were made up members of Birmingham City Council’s Youth City Board, plus over 50 individuals from Wilson Stuart School, CORE Academy, Hall Green School and King Edward VI Handsworth School.
The ceremony, hosted by BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan, included performances from Birmingham-based acapella group Black Voices, a live-streamed performance from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Birmingham Poet Laureate and Birmingham 2022 Legacy and Benefits Committee member Casey Bailey wrote and performed a poem called ‘Take It On’.
The official Birmingham 2022 mascot, Perry, who wore his bespoke tuxedo instead of his basketball kit for the occasion, was also in good spirits at the ceremony.