DIVER Tom Daley is to carry the Queen’s Baton as it touches down in Britain for the first time back on home soil in its epic tour of the Commonwealth ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Games.
The Olympic bronze medallist said he was “so honoured” to take on the key role for the big arrival at St Aubin’s harbour, Jersey, on Sunday.
It is marks the start of the home nations leg of the baton’s 288-day international journey and the final run-up to the July 23 opening ceremony. The relay began at Buckingham Palace in October and the hand-crafted baton contains a personal message from the Queen calling the athletes of the Commonwealth to Glasgow for the start of the Games.
“I’ve followed the baton’s journey around the world since it began last October, so it’s very exciting to be in Jersey as it begins the home nations leg,” Daley said.
“This is the time for everyone to get behind their home teams as the baton’s arrival reminds us that the Games are just around the corner. I’m counting down the days!”
Daley is set to be joined by 23-year-old Team Jersey medal hopeful and British indoor championship shot-putter Zane Duquemin in carrying the baton in to the harbour.
A grand welcome is planned, including the chance to meet Jersey’s past and future athletes, and organisers are urging the public to be part of the celebrations. A two-day relay starts off on the island the following day.
For the next 32 days, it will travel through Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Wales and England, rallying athletes as they get ready to compete for medals in Glasgow.
A 40-day journey through 400 communities across Scotland will begin when the baton reaches the proud host nation of the 2014 Games.
Commonwealth Games Association of Jersey president Alan Cross said: “We couldn’t ask for a better build-up for Team Jersey as we draw close to the Games.
We are honoured, as the southern-most Commonwealth Games Association territory in Britain, to be entrusted with the Queen’s Baton as it commences its final leg of the relay en route to Scotland and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
“We are particularly excited that the baton will be accompanied to our island by 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. They will all be made most welcome.”
The Queen’s Baton Relay is a much-loved tradition of the Commonwealth Games. Up to 4,000 batonbearers will take part in the Scotland route of the relay, with an average of 100 carrying it each day.