As part of today’s Commonwealth Day celebrations, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sets the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay in motion during a star-studded commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Here at home, Team Wales has announced that the Queen’s Baton will visit several communities in Wales in September 2017 during its 388-day journey through the entire Commonwealth. In total, the Baton will cover 230,000 kilometres en route to its final destination, the Opening Ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games on 4 April 2018.
Chris Jenkins, Commonwealth Games Wales Chief Executive, said: “We’re extremely proud to announce this route today. Team Wales brings together all those competing or supporting our athletes to perform to their absolute best at the Commonwealth Games. This inclusive Relay will give everyone that can’t make it to the Gold Coast a chance to be involved in an unforgettable experience.
“As the Baton travels through Wales, our aim is to celebrate our rich and diverse heritage, culture, language and landscape on an International stage. The first day of the Welsh route will see the Baton setting off from Swansea, travelling to our sponsor CGI’s offices in Bridgend and on to Barry Island and Butetown in Cardiff.
“Day 2 takes us from Newport to Monmouth School, The Royal Mint in Llantrisant and ending up in Pontypridd. We head north for the third day, from Brecon to Rhayader, stopping at Llanidloes High School and Primary School and Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd in Newtown before heading through Welshpool and Theatr Clwyd in Mold.
“Finally, we head west and celebrate more of the beauty, culture and adventure we have to offer here in Wales: from Zip World in Blaenau Ffestiniog we then visit Yr Ysgwrn, Hedd Wyn’s childhood home in Trawsfynydd, before travelling through Dolgellau, Portmeirion and Porthmadog to the Baton’s final Welsh destination of Pwllheli.”
The Queen’s Baton Relay will also be passing through Llandinam, Dolwyddelan Castle, Beddgelert and Criccieth for photo stops along the route, which will not have a public event attached to them.
The British Empire and Commonwealth Games held in Cardiff in 1958 were the first to stage the Queen’s Baton Relay, during which a relay of runners carried the Baton through several English counties and all thirteen Welsh on its journey to Cardiff. The 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne were the first in which the Baton visited every nation and territory within the Commonwealth and this tradition has been carried on at every Commonwealth Games since 2006. The Queen’s Baton Relay signifies a visual celebration of the unity and diversity of all the Commonwealth nations. The Baton carries a message from the Queen to Games athletes, which is read out at the Opening Ceremony.
Professor Nicola Phillips, Team Wales Chef de Mission for Gold Coast 2018 said: "Not everyone can make it to the Gold Coast, so by bringing the Queen’s Baton to Welsh communities we hope to inspire and ignite Welsh pride in our athletes. Wales had a fantastic Games at Glasgow 2014 with a record number of medals and we know we can replicate that success in 2018.
“We need the whole of Wales to cheer our athletes on now, as they continue along their road to Gold Coast and during the Games themselves, and we hope that the journey of the Queen’s Baton Relay throughout Wales will act as an invitation to the whole Nation to support our athletes and to engage, excite and inspire ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.”
Day 1 (5 September)
Swansea - CGI Offices, Bridgend - Barry Island - Cardiff - Butetown
Day 2 (6 September)
Newport - Monmouth School - The Royal Mint, Llantrisant - Pontypridd
Day 3 (7 September)
Brecon - Rhayader - Llanidloes High School and Primary School - Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd, Newtown - Welshpool - Theatr Clwyd, Mold
Day 4 (8 September)
Zip World, Blaenau Ffestiniog - Yr Ysgwrn, Trawsfynydd - Dolgellau - Portmeirion - Porthmadog - Pwllheli