Queen launches Commonwealth Games baton on 90,000-mile global journey
The Queen has held her first major event at Buckingham Palace since the pandemic began, launching her Commonwealth Games 2022 baton on a global relay.
Paralympic gold medallist Kadeena Cox was given the honour of taking the baton on the first leg of its 90,000-mile journey which will lead to the opening ceremony in the host city Birmingham.
The Queen handed the symbol for the “friendly games” to four-time Paralympic champion Cox – who won two gold medals at Rio 2016 and two at Tokyo 2020 – after a message to the athletes and the Commonwealth was inserted into the baton.
The televised event in the palace forecourt was another step in the gradual return to normality following the upheavals of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Among the guests were Baroness Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, sports minister Nigel Huddleston, representatives from the Commonwealth Games Federation, grassroots sports organisations from the West Midlands, and athletes competing in the Games.
The Earl of Wessex joined the Queen in his role as vice patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation, which she supports as patron.
A strand of platinum has been incorporated into the baton in recognition of the Queen’s 70-year reign, which will be celebrated next year, and it is packed with hi-tech gadgets for its journey to all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth over 294 days.
The heartbeats of the 7,500 baton bearers will be displayed on a monitor and it also features a 360-degree camera, GPS tracking and “lungs” – atmospheric sensors which use laser technology to analyse environmental conditions.
The Queen’s message will be carried around the globe in the baton but will only be read at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham on July 28.
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