Today, The Queen’s Baton Relay started its epic journey across the globe as the Baton departed from Birmingham Airport and is now heading to Cyprus – the first stop on the 140,000-kilometre relay.
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 departure of the Baton at Birmingham Airport follows the launch of the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay in an exciting and special ceremony at Buckingham Palace yesterday, where Her Majesty The Queen placed her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton.
The Queen’s Baton will now visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth – an incredible journey which will see it reach Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania, before travelling the length and breadth of England during the final days of the Relay.
The Baton will eventually return home to Birmingham next summer, before completing its journey at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022.
The landmark moment at Birmingham Airport was attended by Birmingham-born, Team England netball player Layla Guscoth. With ambitions to pursue her medical career as a doctor alongside her commitments as a professional athlete, Layla worked on the frontline at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham during the height of the pandemic, and will be competing in next year’s Games. She was joined by the official Birmingham 2022 mascot, Perry.
The official send-off took place at one of the departure gates at Birmingham Airport. To mark the special occasion, the area was decorated with Queen’s Baton Relay branding to give a ‘Queen’s Baton Relay departures’ feel.
Ian Reid, Chief Executive Officer of Birmingham 2022, said:
Team England netball player Layla Guscoth said:
Ian Metcalfe, Chair of Commonwealth Games England, said:
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, added:
The Games is already proving to be a catalyst for transformation across the West Midlands, attracting new investment and funding, creating jobs and apprenticeships for local people and new opportunities for local businesses, as well as accelerating projects that will ensure the region is ready to host a fantastic sports and cultural celebration.
Birmingham 2022 will welcome 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories for 11 days of spectacular sport, from 28 July – 8 August 2022.