Leicester has been chosen to play a significant part in the 2014 Commonwealth Games by hosting the Queen’s Baton on its route through to Glasgow, where the Games begin on 23 July. The baton will come to the city on 10 June, during its two-week journey around England, before heading up to Scotland for its final tour.
The baton travels around the world, visiting every Commonwealth country, and by the time it reaches Leicester it will have been to 68 nations and territories, covering a third of the world’s population. It was launched by the Queen on 9 October 2013, when Her Majesty placed a message to the Commonwealth Games inside, which will be read out at the Opening Ceremony.
The baton is a long-standing tradition of the four-yearly event, and is symbolic because it gives people around the Commonwealth nations the chance to be involved, and as well as drumming up support for our own athletes, Team England. It then plays an important part as the curtain-raiser to the Games.
It is a prestigious honour for Leicester to be part of the baton’s journey, because the city is one of a selected few English places to be awarded the privilege, including London, Manchester and Plymouth. The baton-bearers will be announced in the upcoming months, and will be chosen for their outstanding contribution to the community through sport.
The assistant city mayor for culture, heritage, leisure and sport, Councillor Piara Singh Clair is planning a day of community events to celebrate the passing through of the baton, and expects that the people of Leicester will be keen to get involved. He expressed that he was “very excited and delighted that Leicester has been chosen because it will stimulate the community as a whole, in particular young people to take part in physical and sporting activities.” He called it a “really good opportunity for us in Leicester to show our support behind the England team”.
The first stop on the baton’s journey was India, and it has since travelled through countries in Asia, Oceania and Africa, and will stop off in North America, the Caribbean and other European nations before making its way to England.
The baton is expected to visit key locations in the city so many people will have the opportunity to take to the streets and watch its journey as it passes through.