Queen’s Baton Relay is heading for Vanuatu
- Vanuatu Independent, November 15.
THE 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay is coming to Vanuatu and the timing could not be more perfect.
With Vanuatu firmly focussed on the hosting the Pacific Mini Games, it’s important to remember the next big event on the sporting calendar is just down the track.
Many of the Team Vanuatu athletes will be using the PMGs to test their measure against regional rivals in preparation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will be hosted on the Gold Coast in Australia in April.
Perfectly timed to arrive during the Pacific Mini Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) will be welcomed by VASANOC on behalf of Vanuatu and as CEO Henry Tavoa points out, this is in fact the QBR’s fourth visit to Vanuatu.
“In 2013 we celebrated with an around-the-island relay and a QBR Mini-Games at Wan Smol Bag.”
During a ceremony in London on April 4, 2017 the Baton was handed to Australian Olympic cyclist Anna Meares OAM, before commencing the longest QBR in history – an epic 388-day journey covering 230,000km through six Commonwealth regions of Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania, (representing one third of the world’s population).
Arriving from the Solomon Islands on December 7, the QBR carries a message from Queen Elizabeth II and will spend a week in Port Vila as part of the Van2017 activities and celebrations.
QBR will attend a number of events, including an official welcome at the new Haus Blong Handikraf hosted by the Australian High Commission.
“There will be many opportunities for people to see the Baton during its visit – the iconic relay will drive through the town on one day and also be a part of the activities at Korman Stadium,” said Mr Tavoa.
UNICEF is also involved in the programs and is planning a visit to Ambae, as part of its Just Play emergency program.
Following its official farewell at Fest’ Napuan at 5.45pm on Wednesday, December 13, the Baton will leave for Norfolk Island, from where it will then travel to New Zealand before arriving in Australia for the final 100-day leg.
As part of Commonwealth Games tradition, the last runner hands the Baton back to the Queen (or her representative) at the Opening Ceremony when the message will be read.
The Baton is constructed from macadamia wood and recycled plastic and measures 650mm in length, weighing 1.4kg. The GPS on-board allows the Baton to be tracked in real time as it travels around the Commonwealth.