David Beckham hands the Jubilee Baton to the Queen in 2002.
The Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games that will take place in Glasgow in 2014, arrived this past Sunday in New Delhi, India. New Delhi was the site of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The Baton now begins its trek through India.
The Baton was given to Sudha Singh, the gold medalist from the 2010 Asian Games in China. India Today online reported Singh “feels deeply honoured to be allowed to hold the Queen’s Baton.”
The Baton is an iconic part of the Commonwealth Games, just as the Torch is to the Olympics. The Baton holds Her Majesty’s handwritten message for the Commonwealth and for 288 days will travel to each of the 70 nations and territories competing in the Games. The message will be read by Her Majesty at the opening ceremony in Glasgow in July 2014.
“The Relay unites two billion citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport, diversity and peace,” Prince Imran of Malaysia, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, told the BBC. “Every time the Baton is passed it will cement the Commonwealth friendship and reinforce the ways in which we are connected,” The Prince continued.
After speeches and other pageantry, Her Majesty placed the message into the Baton. The Baton was closed, and then began its journey to India. The Baton will cover over 190,000 km through Asia, The Caribbean, North and South America, Africa and Oceania.
The Baton will be in each territory or country for one to four days. The exception will be the week it spends in Wales, the two weeks it will travel through England and finally the host country, Scotland, will be in possession of the Baton for forty days.
The Baton is made of titanium and wood with LED lights to showcase the Queen’s message inside. The lattice work along with the lights provides a unique look at the parchment.
The elm handle was “sourced from the Grounds of Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae.” The tip of the Baton holds a “granite gemstone which will be detached by opening a puzzle mechanism and given as a gift to each nation and territory,” according to the BBC.
In 1958, the first Queen’s Baton Relay took place in Cardiff. Prior to 1998, the Baton did not travel outside of England and the country hosting the Commonwealth Games.
The Games began in 1930 and were then known as The British Empire Games. Since 1950, the Games have occurred every four years. The name change from British Empire to Commonwealth Games took place in 1954. Glasgow is the host of the 20th Commonwealth Games. The Glasgow games will host 4,500 athletes, 175 sports will be played and 261 will be awarded.
The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games is 23 July 2014.