The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) will arrive on the South African shores in Johannesburg, South Africa from Lesotho on Monday, 15 May 2017.
The historic QBR will be hosted by South Africa for a period of five days on its global journey to Australia.
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), Australian high commissioner, Adam McCarthy, and the deputy British high commissioner to South Africa, Mr Peter Boxer, will welcome the Baton together with other various stakeholders. South Africa is the 18th country in Africa 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 Gold Coast 2018 QBR is the curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games. Over a period of 388 days the baton will have visited 71 nations and territories, covered 230 000 kilometres and involves a third of the world’s population, making it the world’s 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 13 March 2017 and concludes 388 days later on 4 April 2018 as the Queen’s Baton is carried into the opening ceremony of GC2018. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II placed her message into the specially designed Baton and entrusted it to the first Baton bearer, legendary Australian track cyclist and GC2018 ambassador Anna Meares.
Says SASCOC CEO, Tubby Reddy, “We welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to our South African shores and we encourage the community’s participation in the Relay including athletes, businesses, youth and community achievers in the various areas the baton will travel to.
“As SASCOC, we celebrate our achievements in the previous Commonwealth Games and we hope this encourages youth in different communities to be great achievers.”
Australian high commissioner Adam McCarthy added, “The Queen’s Baton Relay is a fantastic opportunity for communities in South Africa and all Commonwealth territories to share in a spirit of friendship and inclusion as we look forward to the great festival of sport on the Gold Coast in Australia in 2018. A spirit exemplified by the fact that the Gold Coast will host the largest integrated sports program in the history of the Games, including seven para-sports.”
MEC for Culture, Sport and Recreation, Norah Mahlangu, says, “On behalf of the Mpumalanga Provincial Government and the people of this province, I want to thank SASCOC for bringing the baton relay to our province. I urge all the people of Mpumalanga to come out in large numbers and support the Queens Baton relay when it comes to the province.”
Among the baton bearers will be sports legends, renowned athletes including; Natalie du Toit, Wenda Nel, Colleen Piketh, Esme Haley, Seabelo Senatla, Ntando Mhlangu, Gift Leotlela, Cornel Fredericks, and Luvo Manyonga, to mention a few, leadership from Government, as well as sports movements and prominent personalities.
SASCOC will be making the most of this opportunity to showcase the nation as a country in the Commonwealth family and a tourism destination.
Just some of the places that the baton will travel to include; the Lynnville Park Cenotaph in Emalahleni, Waterval Boven, Mbombela Stadium, Mathafeni Railway Station, God’s Window, The Potholes and Three Rondavels, Leroro Community Hall – Thaba Chweu in Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park.
After the Baton has completed its South African visit it will leave for St Helena in the south Atlantic ocean.