The Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, attended a special ceremony on the forecourt of the Buckingham Palace to launch the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
They were joined by Batonbearers made up of athletes who will be competing in next year’s Games, young flagbearers from the region of the West Midlands, the Birmingham 2022 Hometown Heroes and representatives from across the Commonwealth.
Four-time Paralympic athletics and cycling gold medallist Kadeena Cox had the honour of being the first Batonbearer to receive the Baton from The Queen, marking the official start of the Relay. She then passed it to Team England squash player Declan James and Team Wales boxer Lauren Price.
Cox said: “It was an absolute honour to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event. Receiving the Queen’s Baton from Her Majesty The Queen was a moment I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life. It was also a privilege to share this special moment alongside six other incredible athletes from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
"It’s so exciting to think that this Baton will now travel across the Commonwealth, where other inspirational individuals will become Batonbearers in their own communities.”
Cox won two cycling golds at Tokyo 2020
The Queen’s Baton Relay is a tradition that celebrates, connects and excites communities from across the Commonwealth during the build up to the Games. The Queen’s Baton will now visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth for 294 days, covering 140,000 kilometres. The global journey will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022.
Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin DBE said: “I am absolutely delighted we have finally arrived at this special moment, the launch of the Birmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay!
“This is a very important day for Commonwealth Sport as the message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visits our 72 nations and territories in this unique Baton. Traveling for 294 days, and covering 140,000 kilometres, the Queen's Baton Relay provides Birmingham and the West Midlands the opportunity to showcase itself on a global scale."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We are honoured to host the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, where they will not only be carbon-neutral for the first time, but also feature the largest Para sport programme in their history.
“2022 will be a year of pride and celebration, and we look forward to welcoming athletes and spectators next year.”
The next edition of the Commonwealth Games will be held from 28 July to 8 August 2022 and is set to have the largest integrated Para sport programme in history with eight sports: Para athletics, Para cycling, Para powerlifting, Para swimming, Para table tennis, Para triathlon, and wheelchair basketball 3x3, alongside Para lawn bowls.
For more information on the Queen’s Baton Relay and to follow the Baton’s journey, visit birmingham2022.com/qbr