A world of opportunity for Glasgow and Scotland to shine on the global stage was announced today with the unveiling of the International Sector Route of the Queen’s Baton Relay – one of the unique traditions of the Commonwealth Games.
From the plains of Africa to the gleaming skyscrapers of Singapore; from the tiny tropical islands of St Lucia and Dominica to Canada’s snow-capped mountains; today Glasgow 2014’s Organising Committee revealed the journey the baton will take over land, sea and air around the globe, visiting every nation and territory of the Commonwealth, before travelling the length and breadth of Scotland on its way to its final destination – the Opening Ceremony.
The relay is a unique element of the Commonwealth Games which unites the two billion citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport, diversity and peace. It is the world’s most engaging relay where communities from every corner of the Commonwealth are invited. It also gives Glasgow and Scotland a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with all 71 nations and territories. Glasgow 2014’s baton will itself make history by being the first to visit Rwanda as the relay covers an epic 190,000 km over 248 days.
The baton, which will be created especially for Glasgow 2014, will begin its journey on 9 October at Buckingham Palace when Her Majesty The Queen will place Her message to the Commonwealth into the baton. From there, the baton will travel to Glasgow and begin its epic journey.
The first stop of the journey will be to Delhi – Host City of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Over the 248 days the baton will travel sequentially through Asia, Oceania, Africa, Americas (south), the Caribbean, Americas (north)before returning to Europe and the Home Nations and then into Scotland. The baton will average one to four days in each nation with an extended duration of seven days in Wales, 14 days in England and 40 days in Scotland.
The baton will be relayed on its journey by Emirates, the Official Airline of the Queen’s Baton Relay and an official Partner of Glasgow 2014. Emirates operates to 23 Commonwealth Countries and has 112 non-stop flights to the UK – including twice daily to Glasgow.
Unforgettable memories will be generated. Past relays have featured a submarine in the Maldives, a vintage sidecar in Singapore and a scuba diver to the underwater post office in Vanuatu.
Exotic landing spots for the baton include:
• Nauru – the smallest island on the route
• St Helena – a unique four day crossing from South Africa on the RMS St Helena
It will also:
• Celebrate St Andrew’s Day in New Zealand
• Spend Christmas in Vanuatu – with its underwater post office!
• Bring in the New Year – and the start of 2014 - in Sierra Leone
The journey of the baton has been unveiled for the first time in an interactive celebration in Glasgow’s iconic new Emirates Arena – a major venue for the Games. Games Partners were joined by children and young people from across Glasgow to create a celebration with a real global flavour.
Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chairman of Glasgow 2014, said:
“For Scotland and Glasgow the Queen’s Baton Relay creates an unparalleled chance to put both city and nation into the international spotlight, creating valuable economic, cultural, and educational opportunities for and beyond the Games.
“It is a truly unique cross-continental relay which offers chances for trade and investment opportunities overseas and which connects Glasgow and Scotland to the Commonwealth, and invites the Commonwealth back here. It is our opportunity to be on a global stage, sharing our messages of goodwill, opportunity and potential the baton – and the Games themselves – hope to bring to the Commonwealth.
“The last lap of this global journey brings the Baton back home to touch every community in Scotland as the baton journeys to its final destination.”
Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said:
“The Queen’s Baton Relay puts Glasgow and Scotland on a world stage, inviting international athletes of the Commonwealth to come to Glasgow to compete.
“The QBR is a thread linking Scotland to valuable economic, cultural, and educational links with other countries before the Games – links we hope to build on during the Games and in the years to come.
“By visiting every nation and territory who will send a team, the QBR is a great example of why the Commonwealth Games are known as the ‘Friendly Games’ and we are sure that Glasgow 2014 can be the friendliest yet.”
Councillor Archie Graham, Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, said:
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is a perfect example of the global reach and appeal of the Commonwealth Games. The Games will offer Glasgow a unique showcase to demonstrate what we can do to two billion people and will present us with many different opportunities. The epic voyage of the Queen’s Baton Relay also reminds us that we will soon be host to competitors and visitors from all over the world.”
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said:
“We know from past experience of hosting a Queen’s Baton Relay leg in Scotland that this is the time when awareness of the Games goes live for each country. There is no better way to spread the word that the Games is coming and that we are all part of a wider Commonwealth family.”
Later this year Glasgow 2014 will reveal the design of the baton as well as full details on how thousands of Scots can get involved in baton’s final journey across Scotland in the exciting last build-up to the Games.
Note to Editors
1. The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving 71 teams of athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years. Glasgow 2014 will be the 20th Commonwealth Games and will be held from 23 July to 3 August. It will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition with 261 medal events on show. The Games will play host to 4500 athletes and sell 1,000,000 tickets with the event aided by an army of up to 15,000 local volunteers. Glasgow 2014 Ltd is the official name for the Organising Committee tasked with delivering the Games in partnership with the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Commonwealth Games Scotland.
2. Glasgow 2014 family of official sponsors is Longines, SSE, Emirates, Harper Macleod, Search Consultancy, Ernst & Young, Atos, Dell, Toshiba TEC, A.G. Barr, NVT Group, RGS and Trespass.
3. The first Queen’s Baton Relay was staged for the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff and has been the curtain raiser to the Games ever since.
4. The baton will begin its epic international journey in Delhi, India the Host City of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
5. Internationally over 248 days it will visit the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, and be the first Commonwealth Games baton ever to visit Rwanda.
6. Iconic images from the baton in the past have included David Beckham and Kirsty Howard handing over the baton at Manchester 2002 and Australian sporting legend Cathy Freeman at Melbourne 2006. Emirates airline operates 112 non-stop flights per week from the UK to Dubai – five services a day from Heathrow, three daily from London Gatwick and Manchester, two per day from Birmingham and Glasgow and a daily service from Newcastle. In Dubai, passengers can connect to Emirates’ global network, which spans over 120 destinations across six continents in 74 countries. Since 2004 Emirates has flown almost two million passengers both out of and into Glasgow.
7. Emirates flies to the following Commonwealth countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Cyprus, England, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Scotland, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
8. Emirates has shown commitment to UK sport through sponsorship of the Emirates Stadium for Arsenal FC and initiatives like the sponsorship of East Grinstead Hockey Club, Durham Cricket Club and The Yorkshire Cup horse racing.
9. The Queen’s Baton Relay will conclude its journey at the Games Opening Ceremony on 23 July 2014. The final batonbearer will proudly carry the baton on the final leg of its journey before handing it back to The Queen who will read Her message aloud and officially declare the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games open.