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Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay celebrated in Australia

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The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay has completed its four-day visit to Australia which paid tribute to the previous Australian Commonwealth Games host cities and their sporting communities.

 

 

The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay’s visit to Australia began at Kurrawa Beach on Thursday 17 March with a moving Welcome to Country from the Yugambeh Aboriginal mob, Traditional Custodians of the Gold Coast the site of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, following a handover from the Te Oho Wairua, Māori group.

Te Oho Wairua performed a haka ceremonial dance before presenting the Queen’s Baton to Uncle John Graham, a Yugambeh elder, on behalf of Australia.

 

 

The Games on the Gold Coast made history as the first multi-sport event to include a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a legacy piece of the Games to make a positive impact on communities.

Birmingham Australian Team mascot Borobi was on hand sporting a new Australian team uniform is distinctly green and gold and retains his signature welcome – ‘Jingeri (hello) I’m Borobi’ on the front of his singlet.

Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sally Pearson joined fellow Commonwealth Games Australia alumni along with young Kurrawa Surf Lifesaving Club members to celebrate the Baton on the golden beach.

The next stop was a visit to the Broadbeach Bowls Club, the lawn bowls venue for the 2018 Games, where Auckland 1990 gold medal-winning swimming Janelle Pallister (Elford) joined with her daughter Lani Pallister, a junior world champion and potential Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games team member, to carry the Queen’s Baton.

The mother-daughter duo shared the Baton with lawn bowl gold medallists Kelsey Cottrell and Tony Bonnell at the site of their Gold Coast successes, before passing the baton to Squash Australia stars Rachael Grinham and Rhys Dowling to continue the celebrations of the Queen’s Baton Relay and the Birmingham Games.

Grinham is hoping to make history in Birmingham by becoming just the sixth Australian athlete to make a sixth Commonwealth Games, while Dowling is on track to make his Games debut on the Birmingham team.

 

 

The first day concluded with rising weightlifting star Ebony Gorincu joining Gold Coast silver medallist Matt Denny and fellow Athletics Australia star Riley Day with a visit to Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young PSM, the Governor of Queensland, and the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk, premier of Queensland at Parliament House in Brisbane, to celebrate the Baton’s arrival in Queensland.

 

 

 

Friday 18 March began in Sydney, where the Queen’s Baton was carried by two of the biggest names in Australian swimming, as it visited the city which hosted the 1938 British Empire Games.

Ian Thorpe, who won a record 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals held the Baton aloft in the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge before the Baton headed to the Sydney Cricket Ground, the site of the opening and closing ceremony and athletics at the 1938 Games.

Six-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist from Cardiff 1958 and Perth 1962 Dawn Fraser lead the procession where the icon of Australian sport was joined by past, present and future Commonwealth Games Australia stars in creating a relay around the SCG.

The relay concluded with Gold Coast 2018 bronze medallist Nicola McDermott handing the Baton to Birmingham 2022 Australian Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas.

 

 

Friday afternoon witnessed a special moment with three of the four Kurt Fearnley Scholarship recipients participating the Queen’s Baton Relay.

Promising young Para-athletics stars Indiana “Indi” Cooper and Sarah Clifton-Bligh joined Para-swimmer Alex Tuckfield in the celebrations of the Queen’s Baton, as the trio continue to target to make the Birmingham Commonwealth Games team.

The day concluded with two special events – an evening with His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC and Mrs Hurley at Admiralty House, as Ian Thorpe presented the excellencies with the Baton before a digital projection of the West Midlands on Campbell Stores at The Rocks.

They were joined by fellow athletes and distinguished guests from around the Commonwealth, to share the excitement about the Birmingham Games.

“I am excited by the number of Australians who, regardless of their background, will be inspired to become involved in active sport as a result of the Queen’s Baton Relay and particularly the Games,” the Governor-General said.

Before finishing the evening with High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Australia, Victoria Marguerite Treadell, CMG, MVO joining the Queen’s Baton Relay at a spectacular light projection of the Baton’s epic global journey so far, and the West Midlands, host region of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, onto buildings at Campbell’s Stores in The Rocks precinct, hosted by VisitBritain and the West Midlands as part of the Business and Tourism Programme.

 

 

Saturday began with a fun morning in Sydney’s west with Australian Diamonds stars Sarah Klau and Paige Hadley taking the Queen’s Baton Relay to the Parramatta Auburn Netball Association.

Holding a junior netball clinic, the Diamonds duo shared some tips and fun with the next generation of netball stars and joined with Borobi to continue the Relay.

A highlight on Saturday 19 March was the visit to the Longines Golden Slipper at Rosehill racecourse, where the Queen’s Baton was paraded around the mounting yard.

Longines are a partner of both the international and domestic sectors of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay and a sponsor of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy, a triple Melbourne Cup winner, wore the Queen’s Racing colours to carry the Queen’s message before passing the Baton to Gold Coast team member and Paralympic champion swimmer Ellie Cole and Gold Coast team member Rohan Browning.

Cole has won six gold medals at the Paralympics but is yet to win Commonwealth gold.

“Obviously I’m going there to try and win, the one thing that is missing is the Commonwealth gold medal,” Cole said.

“I’m not going to be disappointed in myself as an athlete if I don’t, I’ve achieved a lot in my 17 years on the Australian swim team,” she said.

 

 

 

A quick dash to Victoria and Saturday night witnessed the Queen’s Baton head to the Melbourne Track Classic where the Queen’s Baton was walked around Lakeside Stadium by Athletics Australia javelin stars Kathryn Mitchell, Kelsey-Lee Barber and Mackenzie Little, before being passed to Commonwealth Games Australia alumni from past Games, including two-time gold medallist Steve Hooker and his parents Bill Hooker and Erica Hooker (Nixon).

The relay around the stadium concluded with a surprise appearance by six-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Pam Kilborn-Ryan, the opening ceremony flag bearer at the Edinburgh 1970 Commonwealth Games, the first time a woman had been honoured with the role in Australian history.

 

 

The final day of the tour began in Ballarat, where the Baton was welcomed by 1994 marathon champion Steve Moneghetti at the track named in his honour.

Moneghetti won medals at four successive Commonwealth Games and was Australian Chef de Mission at three successive Games.

Village Mayor for Melbourne 2006.

The Baton then visited the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the site of the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics for the 2006 Games, for a lap of the ground ahead of the Hawthorn v North Melbourne AFL match.

The relay began with netball star, Delhi 2010 flagbearer and four-time Commonwealth Games medallist Sharelle McMahon and concluded with three-time Commonwealth Games athletics gold medallist Tamsyn Manou (Lewis) who were both joined by their children.

The Baton at the MCG was also carried by weightlifter Eileen Cikamatana who won 90 kilogram gold for Fiji aged just 18 at Gold Coast 2018.

Cikamatana became an Australian citizen in 2019 via a “distinguished talent visa” and is set to compete for her new nation at Birmingham 2022.

“I’m happy to wear the green and gold for these Commonwealth Games, it’s a dream come true,” Cikamatana said.

“To get that opportunity to represent another country, and especially Australia, where you get respected for what you do, no words can describe the feeling of it,” she added.

Netball and Australian Rules star Ashleigh Brazill was joined by her two children

Brazill made the decision to pause her AFLW season to focus her netball career following her successes with the Australian Diamonds at the Quad Series in January to achieve a childhood dream of winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Now with just 125 days to go until the Games, her dream is in sight.

The Queen’s Baton Relay concluded with a special event at the University of Melbourne to celebrate its partnership with the University of Birmingham, one of the partners of the international Queen’s Baton Relay.

The event saw Commonwealth Games medallists and University of Melbourne students Jo Weston (netball) and Elena Galiabovitch (shooting) join other students in celebrating the Queen’s Baton before handing the Baton to Catriona Boyd, Deputy Consul General, from the Consulate of United Kingdom, to conclude the visit in Australia.

 

 

The Queen’s Baton now heads to the Americas where the first port of call will be in Belize, where Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are currently making an official visit.

Belize first competed in the Commonwealth Games 60 years ago as British Honduras.

The international route spans 269 days, spending between two and four days in each nation or territory, covering approximately 140,000 kilometres, with over 7,500 Batonbearers to carry the Baton in their community.

The relay will culminate across the UK with five days in Scotland, four in Northern Ireland, five in Wales and 25 days covering the length and breadth of England before the 2022 Opening Ceremony where the Queen’s message will be opened and read at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place from 28 July to 8 August 2022.

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