Glasgow 2014 ambassador and Olympic and Commonwealth medallist Tom Daley today, Sunday 11 May, brought the Queen’s Baton back to British shores in a packed welcoming ceremony in the picturesque Jersey harbour of St Aubin, the first stop on the British Isles for the world’s most inclusive, engaging relay.
Tom Daley was joined by 23 year-old Team Jersey medal hopeful and British Indoor Championship shot-putter Zane Duquemin. Arriving in to the harbour on Jersey Port’s Pilot Boat just after 18.00, cheered on by hundreds of local well-wishers, they carried the Queen’s Baton into the historic harbour where young athletes – including 12-year old club swimmers Robbie Jones and Fran Stubbings – welcomed them in a public ceremony, officially kicking off the home leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
In addition to the crowds of fans and supporters, the event was also attended by a number of Jersey athletes, past and present, as well as Lord Smith of Kelvin, the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Earlier that afternoon, over 100 local young athletes, many of whom hope to represent Team Jersey at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and beyond, were given the opportunity to attend an informal Q&A session with the Glasgow 2014 ambassador, and hear first-hand about the commitment, mind-set and training regime that places Daley amongst the top young sportsmen in the world.
The baton touched down at Jersey Airport at 15.40, guided to safe ground by Air Traffic Controller Simon Militias, a former Commonwealth Games medallist who won bronze at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. Officials from Jersey’s Commonwealth Games Association, including its President Alan Cross, received the baton from European Vice-President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Chris Jenkins, in a short, private ceremony before the baton was passed to the 19-year old superstar diver for its dramatic reveal to the British public.
For the next 32 days the relay will journey through Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Wales and England, rallying athletes as they get ready to compete for medals in Glasgow, and encouraging everyone to get behind their Home Teams.
When it reaches Scotland on June 14, 2014 the baton will embark on a 40-day journey through 400 communities across Scotland. Up to 4,000 people will carry Her Majesty’s message, before it is read aloud at the Opening Ceremony on July 23, 2014.
Preparations for the Games are well-advanced and enjoy huge public support. The first round of ticket sales attracted 2.3million ticket requests for up to 1million tickets. Tomorrow, 12 May, offers up the last big opportunity to purchase tickets as over 100,000 extra tickets are put on sale to the general public at glasgow2014.com.
Lord Smith of Kelvin KT, Glasgow 2014 Chairman, said:
“This is a very proud moment for the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee as the Queen’s Baton returns to the British Isles, and we’re delighted to be sharing this moment with Jersey. I’d like to thank the people of Jersey and our partners on the island for showing such generous support for the baton. The Queen’s Baton Relay is engaging and tangible proof that the Games are only just around the corner.”
Glasgow 2014 Ambassador Tom Daley, said:
“It’s been a huge honour to be the first batonbearer on the British Isles, I’ve had a great time today in Jersey. Glasgow 2014 is a huge focus for me – and feeling the enthusiasm and support of the crowds and the commitment of the young athletes I had the opportunity to meet today – makes the Commonwealth Games feel very real.
It’s mad to think that the baton has already travelled over 190,000 kilometres around the Commonwealth and will be carried by more than 4,000 people on its journey round the Home Nations. I’m so pleased I got to play a part in the relay – what a great thing to be a part of”.
President of Commonwealth Games Association of Jersey Alan Cross, said:
“We couldn’t ask for a better build-up for Team Jersey as we draw close to the Games.
It’s been a superb day and we are proud to have given the Queen’s Baton a great Jersey welcome. We thank everyone who came to St Aubin’s harbour to join the celebrations and we were delighted to be hosting the Chairman of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Lord Smith of Kelvin, our Commonwealth Games Federation European Vice President, Chris Jenkins, and Glasgow 2014 Ambassador, Tom Daley.”
Chris Jenkins, Regional Vice-President Europe of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said:
“I’m delighted to be part of welcoming the baton back to the British Isles, and to join the crowds in Jersey to celebrate the moment with Tom Daley. The journey of the baton through 70 nations and territories which compete in the Commonwealth Games is an amazing testimony to the shared values of the Commonwealth family. It’s a fantastic tradition to be part of, and over the next few weeks thousands of people across Guernsey, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland will have the chance to say ‘I was there’ and see the baton for themselves as part of the countdown to Glasgow 2014.”
Zane Duquemin, Team Jersey athlete and British Indoor Shot Put Champion, said
“Today was a proud day for me as I continue my build up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. There was such buzz and excitement when Tom and I brought the Queen’s Baton into St Aubin harbour here in Jersey; it really makes the countdown to the Games very real! This is a huge milestone for me personally and it’s focused my mind on training to put myself in the best possible position for a place on the podium in Glasgow this summer.”
The events in Jersey were made possible thanks to the extensive support and collaboration of Commonwealth Games Jersey, Ports of Jersey and Tourism Jersey.