London: Queen Elizabeth II has officially launched the Birmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay in a unique ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.
The Queen accompanied by Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, attended a special ceremony on the forecourt of the Palace to launch the 16th official Queen's Baton Relay. They were joined by Batonbearers made up of athletes who will be competing in next year's Games, young flagbearers from the West Midlands, the Birmingham 2022 Hometown Heroes and representatives from across the Commonwealth.
The Queen's Baton Relay is a tradition that celebrates, connects and excites communities from across the Commonwealth during the build-up to the Games. The Queen's Baton will now visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth for 294 days, covering 140,000 kilometres. The global journey will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on July 22, 2022.
The Baton was delivered to Buckingham Palace after being carried from Horse Guards Parade and down the Mall by the Birmingham 2022 Hometown Heroes, champions of grassroots sport in the West Midlands, who were accompanied by a Tri-Service military band.
The Queen and The Earl of Wessex, Patron and Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation respectively met the designers and manufacturers of the Baton, which was unveiled in Birmingham last week. The Baton was created in a West Midlands collaboration that fused art, technology, and science. Made from copper, aluminium and steel, the Baton also features a platinum strand in homage to Queen in her Platinum Jubilee year. It is also equipped with cutting-edge technology; 360 degree-camera, heart rate monitor, atmospheric sensors and LED lighting.
Dame Louise Martin DBE, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, and the Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE, also accompanied the Queen in the ceremonial party.
Four-time Paralympic gold medallist, Kadeena Cox, had the honour of being the first Batonbearer to receive the Baton from the Queen, marking the official start of the 16th Queen's Baton Relay. She then passed it to Team England squash player Declan James and Team Wales boxer Lauren Price who were positioned at The Queen Victoria Memorial.
Further, Batonbearers at the ceremony included athletes from Team England and artistic gymnast Alice Kinsella, Team Scotland hockey player Sarah Robertson, and Team Northern Ireland cyclist Mark Downey.
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