Thursday, March 31, 2005

Queen’s baton relay flies in on Sunday

by Alice Mascarenhas

The Commonwealth Games

The Queen’s Baton Relay is making its way around the world visiting all Commonwealth countries. The relay was launched by The Queen in London last month and is being held in the run up to the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.


The Gibraltar leg of the event begins on Sunday when the team carrying the baton will arrive on the Monarch evening flight at 7.40pm. The team will be met by the Minister for Sport Clive Beltran, Vice-President of the Gibraltar Commonwealth Games Association Becky Fortunato and Secretary Harry Murphy.

Thousands of runners are expected to carry the baton for more than 110,000 miles through all 71 nations of the Commonwealth.

The Queen’s Baton has already seen its way through Wales, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Guernsey. Its next stop will be Gibraltar where it will remain from Sunday to Wednesday before heading for Cyprus, Malta and returning to the Channel Islands – Jersey on April 12 and England by April 15. It will then travel to Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Asia and finally Oceania and the Melbourne opening ceremony on March 15 2006.

The Queen’s Baton was created for a relay to celebrate the Cardiff 1958 Commonwealth Games in Wales. Since then it has become a much loved games tradition. The baton’s journey symbolises the unity and shared ideals of the Commonwealth of Nations, and enables communities beyond the host city to share the games celebrations.

The Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton Relay will be the world’s longest and most inclusive relay of the 71 nations of the Commonwealth. Originally eleven nations participated in the first British Empire Games in Hamilton, Canada, in 1930. Today the games will see the representation of over a third of the world’s population – all are expected to compete in Melbourne next year.

Whilst on the Rock the Queen’s Baton Relay will visit several places.

On Monday Minister for Sport Clive Beltran will officially start the relay at the Victoria Stadium at eleven in the morning. School children, athletes and VIPs will be present at the ceremony which will see The Queen’s Baton Relay, GCGA delegates, athletes and children march with the Baton around part of the Stadium track, and leaving via the exit closest to Cepsa.

The relay will then make its way down Winston Churchill Avenue, around Portland House and into Casemates Square. The Baton route will move into Main Street and up to the Piazza where the entourage move onto the City Hall where they will again be met by Clive Beltran this time in his role as Mayor of Gibraltar at around 12 noon. Here the Mayor is expected to give a speech and receive the Queen’s Baton from Heloise Mañasco, Gibraltar’s top Air Rifle Shooter. The Mayor will then return the Baton and the entourage will return via the same route to the Victoria Stadium.

Whilst The Queen’s Relay Baton is on the Rock the Gibraltar Commonwealth Games Association will host a dinner at the Eliott’s Hotel, which will be attended by GCGA committee members and guests including the Governor and Lady Richards, and GCGA Honorary Life President Pepe Fabre.

On Tuesday the QBR crew will visit Loreto Convent School, Bayside Comprehensive School, and pay an Official QBR visit to the Convent to meet the Governor. The crew will then leave the Rock on Wednesday.

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