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Sports Features of Sunday, 5 January 2014

Source: Sammy Heywood Okine

Significance of the queen’s baton relay

and the commonwealth games to ghana

The Queen’s Baton Relay is the traditional curtain raiser to the Commonwealth Games and has been an inclusion in the Games program since the Cardiff 1958 Commonwealth Games in Wales.

The Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay began at Buckingham Palace on 9 October 2013, when Her Majesty the Queen handed over the baton to begin its relay around the globe.

The Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay arrived in Ghana on Friday 3rd January 2013 from Sierra Leone,the twenty second countryof its 71 Commonwealth destinations. Ghanaprovided the integral link when it welcomed the baton as part of the most engaging relay in history.

The baton traveled through Vanuatu in theAsia Pacific before arriving in Africa starting its relay in Sierra Leone on 1st January 2013. It is covering a distance of one hundred and ninety thousand kilometers (190,000km).

Ghana’s Minister of Youth and Sports ,Hon. Elvis Afriyie Ankrahsaid he was “delighted Ghanahas been granted the honour of hosting the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay, bringing with it the opportunity to highlight and promote the city and our athletes via the accompanying media attention”.

Mr Sharad Rao, Chair of Magistrates and Judges of the Vetting Board of the Commonwealth Games, presented the baton to the Vice President, at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

Professor Francis Dodoo, President of the Ghana Olympic Committee said the event is to showcase the preparedness of the hosts of the next Commonwealth Games and also an opportunity to show the country’s culture and tourism potentials. He commended some companies who supported the even especially, Emirates Airlines, UNICEF and the British High Commission. The British High Commissioner in Ghana noted that he was delighted the United Kingdom will host sports talents from the Commonwealth nations and they will compete at the Glasgow Games in peace, with new visions and called on all sports loving fans to promote the Games. He said new standards would be set and legacies laid for future generations

In Ghana it was carried by the Vice President of the Republic, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur from the Flag Staff House and handed it over to other dignitaries at the seat of government such as the Chief of Staff, Chief of Staff,

His Excellency Amissah- Arthur said the relay allows everyone to participate and it was important for Ghanaians to share in the vision and mission of the Games which are friendship competition. Ministers of State including hon. Omane Boamah who did a fine lap, High Commissioners like the Indian and Canadian, Paramount Chiefs like the Gbese Mantse and Osu Mantse, CEO’s on the High Street in Accra from Barclays Bank, Ghana Commercial Bank, Enterprise Insurance, Vivo formerly Shell, Top Sports Personalities, current and former athletes and children were part of the show, touring Greater Accra and then the Volta region going through 78 towns and villages in Ghana.

In Accra Central, the event was exciting as the entertainment personality of the moment, Shatta Wala who took the relay touch from Adane Best, another top musician made the whole difference of the relay as he had gathered a large crowd before the touch reached Chorkor and he really made the people of Korle Gonno and James Town proud before handing it over to popular politician Nii Lante Vanderpuje, MP for Odododiodoo Consituency who took it to the Gbese Mantse’s Palace. Other Members of Parliament who held the touch were Fritz Baffour MP for Ablekumah South and Usula Owusu MP for Ablekumah West. Musician Amakye Dede, film star Adjoa Smart all hand turns to hold the touch before it went to the State House for the Speaker of Parliament and others like Dr. Debora Cubagee, Vice President of the Ghana Olympic Committee to hold. The touch relay could not have been successful without the support of the media. Over 50 journalists were on duty in the event and great credit must go to Charles Osei Asibey and his Happy FM crew who proved that they operate at the best sports station in Ghana. UTV owned by Osei Kwame Despite also did well telecasting the event live and it was all joy and happiness when he took the touch at the Abeka Junction. From Abeka to Odorkor and Dansoman was a thriller as people from all walks of life came out to the street side to witness the occasion.

As part of its epic journey, the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay will traverse the length and breadth of the Commonwealth visiting all 71 nations of the Commonwealth covering 190,000 kilometres in 248 days. The baton will travel Asia, Oceania, Africa, Americas (south), the Caribbean, Americas (North) and Europe. The baton will then complete the final part of the journey in Scotland where the baton will spend a total of 40 days.

Ghana will take part in this year’s 20th Commonwealth Games in Scotland between July 23 and August 3 2014 in disciplines such as athletics, boxing, badminton, judo, taekwondo, and weight lifting. Four of the nation’s gold medalists at previous Commonwealth Games graced the start of the relay at the Flag Staff House and Mike Ahey, Oko Addy (athletics), Azumah Nelson (Boxing) and Madjety Fetri (weightlifting) and they gave inspiration to the current sportsmen and women that they can also win gold for Ghana in 2014.