By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Queen’s Baton on Monday arrived in the Gambia and was received at the Banjul International Airport by Baton Manager for the Gambia Abdoulie Jallow.
The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay which departed for the British High Commissioner’s Residence shortly after a brief ceremony at the Airport, and it is expected to spend three days exploring the culture and community of the Gambia before departing for Sierra Leone.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is a tradition that celebrates, connects and excites communities from across the Commonwealth during the build up to the Commonwealth Games.
The Relay began on 7 October 2021 at Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II placed her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton.
Abdoulie Jallow, the Baton Manager for the Gambia described the day as a historic one for our sports, adding that they are honored to have it in the Gambia.
Lamin Kaba Bajo, second vice president of the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) expressed delight with being part of the Commonwealth family as a country. He also expressed gratitude to Her Majesty, the head of the Commonwealth for ensuring the Gambia is able to take part in the historic event.
David Belgrove, the British High Commissioner to the Gambia said the Baton will take an incredible 294-day journey through all nations and territories of the Commonwealth, arriving back in England in July 2022. He added that the Baton will travel an epic international route, spanning an impressive 269 days, spending between two and four days in each nation or territory, covering approximately 90,000 miles (140,000 kilometres), having over 7,500 Baton bearers trusted with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Baton.
He further said that the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay will visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth yet will travel almost half the distance than the previous Gold Coast Queen’s Baton Relay in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint.
He highlighted that the Queen’s Baton Relay will bring a message of hope and unity in collaboration as well as reminds us that there is more that unites us than separates us.
He further said that the Gambia rejoining the Commonwealth in 2017 reminds us that we are unified in the challenges that we are facing particularly with Covid-19 and climate change.
Meanwhile, during each visit, nations and territories host events and activities that showcase untold stories from Baton bearers, athletes, and young people who are striving for change in their community, as well as showcasing a project that addresses at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The global journey will conclude at the Birmingham Games 2022 Opening Ceremony where the final Baton bearer will return it to Her Majesty the Queen.