Students of St. Marys, Savalalo getting a feel of the Queens Baton
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2017: The Queens baton’s four day journey in Samoa got off to a warm and sunny welcome as throngs of school children lined the batons’ path and added to the bright sunshine as the baton made its way from Faleolo Airport to an official welcome in front of Government Building.
“We left Fiji early hours today, and there was no sunshine, but definitely the sunshine and warmth coming from the people here in Samoa who were involved in the relay today,” said Kate Shore, Commonwealth media liaison officer accompanying the baton.
The baton left Bucking Palace with the Queens Message inside and it symbolizes peace, diversity, sustainability and friendship. Samoa is the 68th of the Commonwealth country it’s been to in its 288 journey before it comes to the Gold Coast on the opening day of the 2018 Commonwealth Games where the Queens Message will be read before the Games begin.
“The baton is currently on its longest journey in history covering 288 days to all Commonwealth member countries and over 230 kilometres,” said Kate Shore, Commonwealth media liaison officer.
On landing in Samoa, the baton was handed over to the President of the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (SASNOC), Patrick Fepuleai. It was under police escort to Saina village where the first baton bearer, former athlete Dawn Rasmussen was the first runner.
Prominent sports and community personalities took turns to deliver the baton by hand on its way into Apia as school children lined the road sides and cheering on. Motorists also joined in hooting horns and waiting patiently as the baton passes by.
At the Town Clock, Samoa’s first ever Olympic medalist and Commonwealth Gold medalist, weightlifter Ele Opeloge, had the honours to receive the baton and hand it over to the Prime Minister and the official party in waiting.
In welcoming the Queens Baton, Tuilaepa said the baton is a symbol of peace, amongst Commonwealth countries.
“Whichever manner used to deliver the baton, may it by boat or horse does not matter, but what matters is that it reaches its destination,” said Tuilaepa.
“The baton symbolizes peace, diversity, sustainability and friendship, as the Commonwealth Games is known as the friendly games in the world,” said Kate Shore, the Commonwealth media liaison officer.
The baton also is a representation of the host city, Cold Coast’s present, past and future.
The Queens Baton – Past, Present and Future
- The Back is made of macadamia wood, a native tree of Gold Coast representing their indigenous heritage.
- The tree is a plant that grows near the sea and used by the people to mark their paths as they travel through the land.
- It’s Centre which holds the baton together represents the past and it has all the names of the 70 Commonwealth countries.
- The Front which represents the future is made of reclaimed plastic collected from the sea and molded together, is a representation of sustainability around the Commonwealth countries.
- It carries the Queens Message that will be read out 4th April 2018 calling all athletes from the Commonwealth to come together in peaceful and friendly competition.
The baton returns to Australia on the 25th December 2017, and then travels around Australia for 100 days to coincide with the opening of the Games on 4 April 2018.