The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) has touched down in Johannesburg, South Africa after arriving from Lesotho on Monday, 10 February.
The historic QBR will be hosted by South Africa for a period of five days on its global journey back to Scotland.
It was welcomed by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) together with their various stakeholders. South Africa is the 18th country in Africa and the 39th of the Commonwealth Countries to welcome and host this auspicious occasion.
The QBR is a much loved tradition of the Commonwealth Games and symbolises the coming together of all Commonwealth nations and territories in preparation for the four-yearly festival of sport and culture.
The Glasgow 2014 QBR is the curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games. Over a period of 288 days the baton will have visited 70 nations and territories, covered 190 000 kilometres and involved a third of the worlds population, making it the worlds most engaging relay.
The Queen’s Baton Relay has been a much-celebrated sporting tradition ever since the Games were hosted in Cardiff, Wales in 1958.
The current QBR was launched at Buckingham Palace on 9 October 2013 at a ceremony where Her Majesty the Queen placed her message to the Commonwealth into the heart of the baton. The baton will be relayed by thousands of people throughout the Commonwealth, each one honoured by their own nation to participate in this unique tradition.
The Queen’s Message is inscribed on a parchment which was handmade in Glasgow, using both linen and plant fibre. For the first time, the message forms the visual core of the baton design ÔÇô illuminated from within by LED lights, yet unreadable until the Opening Ceremony in Glasgow on 23 July.
The baton also contains a granite gemstone which will be gifted to each nation and territory. Positioned at the very top of the baton, it can only be released by opening a clever puzzle mechanism. The gemstones are made of granite unique to Scotland.
Says SASCOC CEO, Tubby Reddy: We welcome the Queens Baton Relay to South Africa and it is a reminder of the importance of participating in the Commonwealth Games. As SASCOC, we celebrate our achievements in our 20-year democracy and we hope this inspires the youth to be great achievers.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Sport and Recreation, Cllr Nozipho Tyobeka-Makeke added: The City of Tshwane is elated to welcome the Queens Baton Relay to our city of champions. We strive to provide the best possible sport and recreation facilities and services to all people in Tshwane to enhance their quality of life. Through this we intend to produce more Tshwane champions who can participate in future Commonwealth Games. Igniting excellence among our champions will in turn entrench the City of Tshwanes position as a leading municipality.
Among the baton bearers will be sports legends, OPEX athletes, leadership from Government as well as sports movements andprominent personalities.
SASCOC will be making the most of this opportunity to showcase the nation as a country in the Commonwealth Family as well as highlighting everyday life, cultural diversity, humanity and traditions by including as many people as possible to be part of the batons epic journey.
Some of the places that the baton will travel to include: the Apartheid Museum, Orlando Swimming Pool, the Daveyton community, Reiger Park, Ramaphosa informal settlement, the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria and Union Buildings.
After the Baton has completed its South African visit it will leave Cape Town, bound for the Atlantic Ocean of St Helena before heading across to the Falkland Islands and South America.