The Queen’s baton relay is to the Commonwealth Games what the Torch relay is to the Olympic Games. It is the publicity instrument that heralds the celebration of the Commonwealth Games. It carries a message from Her Majesty the Queen through all the Nations and territories as a call to the Commonwealth Games.
The Baton is set to arrive in Nigeria on the 1st of April 2017 accompanied by its five-man team consisting of; Gideon Sam, Adam Best, Patricia Quayle, Collin Briggs and Jeremy Suton-Hibbert. These Delegates will depart on the 5th of the same month after its visit. Due to the impending closure of the Abuja airport, the Queen’s baton relay will only be hosted in the city of Lagos.
The XXI Commonwealth Games is to be held at Gold Coast, Australia in 2018. Its vision is to stage a spectacular Queen’s baton relay that embraces commonwealth diversity, ignites community pride and excites the common wealth of Nations.
The Commonwealth Games, previously known as “The British Empire Games” was first held in Hamilton, Canada in August 1930 but it wasn’t until the 1958 games held in Cardiff, Wales that the Queen’s baton relay was introduced. It has since been the traditional curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games.
In Nigeria, the Queen’s baton relay was first hosted in April 2002 ahead of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. The baton team led by the then chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation; Mr. Mike Fennell arrived Nigeria on the 6th of April and was presented to the then President in Abuja and was also received in Lagos by its Governor. The baton team also visited other places while in Lagos like Cadbury Nig. Ltd, Unilever Nig. Plc…etc. Since then, the Queen’s baton relay has been hosted in Nigeria thrice: in 2005 ahead of Melbourne 2006, in 2009 ahead of the Delhi 2010 games, and in 2014 ahead of Glasgow 2014.
The Baton relay which already begun, started at the Buckingham palace on Monday 13th March 2017 which also happened to be Commonwealth day. At the commencement ceremony, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II placed her message into the baton and entrusted its journey to the many baton bearers present who will carry it on its journey covering over 230,000km in 388 days across 70 commonwealth Nations. The Baton will be travelling across Africa, America, The Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania spending between 2-4 days in each Nation and territory taking time to embrace and connect with every communities modern and diverse commonwealth.
This year’s commonwealth games baton relay will achieve two records. It will be the longest and most accessible relay in commonwealth history. When it arrives at the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games on the 4th of April 2018, the entire commonwealth would have been a part of the journey giving everyone the opportunity to share the dream of an ambitious journey to connect with the modern and diverse commonwealth of today. It will provide thousands of people with the opportunity to experience the spirit of friendship of which the Commonwealth Games are renowned. The International sector provides each region with a unique opportunity to showcase its people’s heritage, culture and environment to the rest of the commonwealth.
For the first time, the baton will be present at the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) in Nassau, Bahamas from 19-23 July 2017. The CYG will provide a unique opportunity for the baton to engage and inspire today’s Youth with 60% of the commonwealth citizens less than thirty years of age.