Queen’s baton comes to Rwanda for the first time
The Queen’s Baton arrived at Kigali International Airport this Wednesday 15 January 2014, touching Rwandan soils at exactly 8.35pm ahead of a two-day journey in the country of a Thousand Hills.
The baton was received by the Rwanda National Olympic Committee (RNOC) president, Robert Bayigamba and Sharon Wilkins, the British High commission Charge d’Affairs among other officials.
Though there were few Rwandans present to receive the baton, the mood of receiving the Queen’s baton was tense as most of the officials and security guards kept watch of the arrival time and protocol.
At arrival, the baton was majestically placed on a pedestal where every Rwandan and media present took a close look at the shiny gold curved light that shone through the baton.
Sharon Wilkins, British High commission’s Charge d’Affairs said that having the Queen’s baton in Rwanda is aimed at inspiring Rwandans to feel welcome into the family of commonwealth countries, since Rwanda is one of the new entrants into the Commonwealth.
RNOC president, Robert Bayigamba also said that the baton is significant in building the partnership with the commonwealth countries and especially building the sporting spirit in Rwanda in various disciplines.
“We feel proud of being part of the common wealth and it’s an honor for Rwanda and its future relationship, friendship with the commonwealth.
We are ready for the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay in our country. We look forward to seeing many join in the festivities and turn out to cheer on the relay’s baton-bearers.”
He added that Rwanda will be participating in the Olympic Games to be hosted by the city of Glasgow, Scotland in August, with at least six federations and 20 sportsmen and women will represent Rwanda.
Rwandan athletes will compete in various disciplines including: athletics, boxing, swimming, power lifting judo and cycling.
The Baton will tour various iconic sites including: the fantastic Musanze caves, the Rukali Pre-colonial Museum, the Olympic Africa site in Nyanza, the Kigali Memorial Centre in Gisozi as well as the Amahoro National Stadium.
The relay will involve past and present athletes; the baton will also visit local schools and sporting facilities.
The Kenya National Olympic Chairman, Kipchoge Keino, who headed the team that brought the baton to Rwanda, said that the baton strengthens the friendship between commonwealth countries and this year’s baton will make a record breaking journey ahead of the Olympics
He revealed that “the baton carried a message from the Queen- which will be read on the launch of Olympic Games. And it will make the first ever longest relay for 288 days, 190.000 miles through 70 countries”.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is a much loved tradition of the Commonwealth Games and symbolizes the coming together of all Commonwealth nations and territories in preparation for the four-yearly festival of sport and culture.
On 9 October 2013 the Queen’s Baton Relay was launched at Buckingham Palace, at a ceremony where Her Majesty the Queen placed her message to the Commonwealth into the baton.
The baton will be relayed by thousands of people throughout the Commonwealth.
From Sydney Harbour Bridge to the hills of Rwanda; from Pacific Islands to the Rocky Mountains of Canada, the baton will showcase each nation and territory in the Commonwealth and finally finish line will be in the host nation Scotland just in time for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Glasgow, where Her Majesty The Queen will read aloud Her message to the Commonwealth.