Barbados became the 5th Caribbean nation to receive the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton on June 10. The Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR), is a tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride, and excites people about the sporting event. The Queen’s Baton carries a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that calls the Commonwealth’s athletes to come together in a peaceful and friendly competition.
Last Monday the Governor General of Barbados Sir Elliott Belgrave hosted an official ceremony to start the journey of the Baton in Barbados at his Government House residence. In attendance were a number of high-level dignitaries such as Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley, President of the Barbados Olympic Association Steve Stoute and Honorary Counsel for Australia Mr. James Gardiner, to name a few.
Speaking at the ceremony Media Liaison and Public Relations Officer of the QBR at Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation Kate Shaw said, “We are very pleased to be here to start our leg in Barbados with the Queen’s Baton, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The baton represents our past, present, and future, on the back we have macadamia wood, which was used by our local indigenous people. The stainless steel stringer in the center represents our present, and at any point in time you can see where we are on the Queen’s Baton remarkable journey around the Commonwealth, all 70 Commonwealth nations are displayed on the Queen’s Baton.”
She continued, “The front represents our future, it is made from reclaimed plastic from the oceans of the Gold Coast, and it sends an environmental message around the commonwealth, that what we do today impacts tomorrow. The LED Bright Illumination lights epitomize all the different colors that you see on the Gold Coast; the blue represents our oceans, green from our rain forest and the pink and red for our sunrise and sunsets. We also have Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II message on the side of the baton, which would be read aloud at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast next year April.”
At the opening ceremony, President of the Barbados Olympic Association Steve Stoute said he was pleased to be hosting the Queen’s Baton, “Barbados has participated in the Commonwealth games since 1954, and of those games, we have won a gold medal. We are looking forward eagerly to participating at the games in Australia next year.”
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley concluded the proceedings by noting, “It is a distinct pleasure to be a part of this ceremony, which heralds a symbolic gesture as we commence the move towards the Commonwealth Games. The baton has a lot of significance in terms of what it represents, where the Commonwealth Games will be held and also the history of the Commonwealth games. Barbados has always been very proud to be participating in these games, we have had some excellent athletes who have done really well, and I have no doubt that in the upcoming games we will represent our country well.
I also want to acknowledge the continuity of the games, the games have been ongoing for several years, and this symbolic gesture of moving the baton around the Commonwealth is indicative of the importance that the Queen, Her Majesty hold to these games. In Barbados, I can assure you that we will continue the proud tradition of preparation and involvement in the Commonwealth Games and I want to wish our athletes well as they continue their preparations.”
The Queen’s Baton relay started from Government House with the first runner Deputy High Commissioner of Britain, Mr. Colin Dick. The baton passed through the districts of the Pine, Government Hill, Ivy, My Lord’s Hill, Welches, Collymore Rock and Wildey all the way to end at the BOA Headquarters.
Representatives from Badminton, Netball, Judo, Boxing, Squash, Volleyball, Cycling and Table Tennis amongst others completed the relay, along with schools such as the Springer Memorial, Charles F. Broome, Belmont Primary, St. Giles, Hill Top and the St. Michael’s school.