Her Majesty The Queen has officially launched the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in a unique ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen, accompanied by The Earl of Wessex, attended a special ceremony on the forecourt of the Palace to launch the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay. They were joined by Batonbearers made up of athletes who will be competing in next year’s Games, young flagbearers from the West Midlands, the Birmingham 2022 Hometown Heroes and representatives from across the Commonwealth.
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 Queen’s Baton will now visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth for 294 days, covering 140,000 kilometres. The global journey will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022.
More than 70 young people from Birmingham lined the stage and held flags from all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth. The flagbearers were made up members of Birmingham City Council’s Youth City Board, plus over 50 individuals from Wilson Stuart School, CORE Academy, Hall Green School and King Edward VI Handsworth School.
The ceremony, hosted by BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan, included performances from Birmingham-based acapella group Black Voices, a live-streamed performance from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Birmingham Poet Laureate and Birmingham 2022 Legacy and Benefits Committee member Casey Bailey wrote and performed a poem called “Take It On”.
The official Birmingham 2022 mascot, Perry, who wore his bespoke tuxedo instead of his basketball kit for the occasion, was also in good spirits at the ceremony.
Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin DBE said: “I am absolutely delighted we have finally arrived at this special moment, the launch of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay!
“This is a very important day for Commonwealth Sport as the message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visits our 72 nations and territories in this unique Baton. Traveling for 294 days, and covering 140,000 kilometres, the Queen’s Baton Relay provides Birmingham and the West Midlands the opportunity to showcase itself on a global scale.
“It marks the final countdown to the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony on 28 July and provides hope, harmony and cooperation across the Commonwealth at a time when it is needed most.”
Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE, Chairman of Birmingham 2022, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay will convey a message of hope and inspiration and will connect peoples from across the Commonwealth during the build-up to the Games and as we look to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This journey champions the miracle of difference, the individuality of humanity, yet speaks to a collective collaboration of a global community.
“Birmingham 2022 will be the Games for everyone, and the Queen’s Baton Relay is just one example of that. We will come together challenging the transformational power of sport to unite us all. Today has been a wonderful celebration for the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay, and it will be a thrill and a privilege to follow the Baton on its journey and to hear the stories of all the people it meets and delights.”
The Baton will head to Birmingham Airport before departing for Cyprus – the first stop on the Queen’s Baton Relay. From here, it will visit the other 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, before travelling the length and breadth of England on the way to its final destination – the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Birmingham 2022 will welcome 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories for 11 days of spectacular sport, from 28 July – 8 August 2022.
For more information on the Queen’s Baton Relay and to follow the Baton’s journey, visit birmingham2022.com/qbr