THE QUEEN’S Baton Relay will stop off in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, as part of the baton’s 388-day trip throughout all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth region.
The Queen’s Baton Relay has been the traditional curtain- raiser to the Commonwealth Games since the 1958 Games in Cardiff, Wales. The baton carries a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, through all nations and territories, as a call to the Commonwealth to come together in friendly competition at the Games.
The Queen’s Baton Relay started on March 13 at Buckingham Palace in England.
The baton will travel around the world, before arriving for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on April 4 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.
After the baton arrives in TT on Sunday, a 10K relay event to celebrate the arrival of the baton will be held on Monday, starting opposite BPTT around the Queen’s Park Savannah. On Monday, the baton will travel to Pigeon Point, Tobago.
Yesterday, at a media conference at the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic House on Abercromby Street in Port of Spain, president of the TT Commonwealth Games Association Brian Lewis reflected on Trinidad and Tobago’s history at the Commonwealth Games.
Lewis, who is also the head of the TT Olympic Committee (TTO C), said the first time TT participated at the Commonwealth Games was in 1934, and have earned over 50 medals since.
“Through that long history we would have captured and brought home to our beautiful twin island republic 52 medals - eight gold medals, 20 silver and 24 bronze. As we approach Gold Coast, we are really making every effort in supporting our athletes to ensure that we make podium.” Lewis said more emphasis will be placed on the 2018 Commonwealth Games. “For too long the Commonwealth Games has not appeared to be as important as the other games.
Certainly, the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association intends to change that, but for now the focus is on the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay that would have left Her Majesty’s Buckingham Palace on the 13 of March.” John Pilbeam, Australian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, expects Australia to host a successful Games as the country has hosted numerous sporting events in the past.
Pilbeam said, “We are putting a lot into the logistics. The (2000) Sydney Olympics was one of the most smoothly flowing Olympic Games ever, and we will do the same for these Commonwealth Games. We have had more Commonwealth Games than any other country.” Pilbeam said the para athletes will compete alongside the other athletes as oppose to other major sporting events. “One of the great things about the Commonwealth Games, is that instead of having an Olympic Games and a Special Olympics, you’ve got everyone together.
You’ve got para sports at the Commonwealth Games with equal status to other sports.” Pilbeam also said, the number of women and men competing will be almost equal at the Commonwealth Games, unlike other Games where men outnumber women.