Excitement builds ahead Commonwealth Baton arrival

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Faumuina Wayne Fong.

Faumuina Wayne Fong.

Samoa is set to welcome the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (G.C.2018) Queen’s Baton on Thursday 23 November 2017.

The Baton will arrive from Fiji, the 64th of its 71 Commonwealth destinations. 

Samoa will play an important role in the Relay when it welcomes the Baton, providing our local communities the opportunity to Share the Dream of the GC2018. 

S.A.S.N.O.C President, Fepulea’i Patrick Fepuleaí will receive the baton on arrival at Faleolo International Airport. The Baton will be driven to Apia with the first baton bearer to receive the baton at Saina. 

The baton relay will then commence on foot with many members of the community, athlete representatives, school children, past Commonwealth Games medalists and the private sector will be able to take part as we head into Apia for an official welcome at Matagialalua.

Member of Parliament for Faleata i Sasae, Faumuina Wayne Fong, said he is delighted that he has been granted the honor of being a baton bearer for the G.C.2018 Queen’s Baton Relay.

“Hosting the Queen’s Baton Relay is not only an exciting event for our people, the Relay is an opportunity to highlight and promote our country through international media interest,” he said. 

“I’m also honored to accept the baton for a new generation in my constituency.  I believe sports is an excellent platform to build self-confidence, unity and inclusivity in our communities. It helps us to reach our personal aspirations. It also teaches us sound leadership and being brave to stand up and do the right thing in our society, without fear.”

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

The Relay began at Buckingham Palace on 13 March 2017, when Her Majesty The Queen handed the Baton to Anna Meares – the first of many thousands of batonbearers who will be a part of the Baton’s journey around the Commonwealth. 

Carrying the message from Her Majesty The Queen, the Baton will travel 288days through Africa, the Americas, Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania, before returning to Australia for a 100-day domestic sector. 

The final Batonbearer will return the Baton to Her Majesty The Queen (or Her Representative) at the Games Opening Ceremony on 4 April 2018. 

The message will be removed from the Baton and read aloud to officially open the GC2018. 

The international sector for the Queen’s Baton Relay is a joint initiative of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation in partnership with the Commonwealth Games Federation and locally with the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C.)

Nynette Sass, Chef de Mission for Team Samoa, said preparations are almost complete to celebrate the arrival of the G.C.2018 Queen’s Baton Relay in our community.  

“Besides highlighting some of our natural treasures, we are also collaborating with UNWomen, M.W.S.C.D., Police and several other sports federations to promote and engage the community to celebrate the International Day marking Ending Violence against Women.”

“We look forward to seeing many locals join in the festivities and turn out to cheer on the Relay’s batonbearers.’’

UN Women is organizing a Fun Run and sports related family activities on the 25th November on the South Coast from Aga Resort to Lalomanu Beach.

“We are happy to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay. We understand that loving and non-violent families are also healthy ones!,” says Papali’i Mele Maualaivao, Samoa Country Programme Coordinator for UN Women. 

“Encouraging young girls and boys to get out and enjoy sports together helps to break down gender stereotypes and increase equal participation. We’re looking forward to encouraging an equal playing field in every aspect of a young woman’s life!.”

For the members of the private sector who wish to run with the baton and have their photos shot on site, please contact Sass. The final programme with route and other information will be disseminated early next week

 For further information about the G.C.2018 QBR visit: gc2018.com  or contact Sass on 7774250 or email: nynette.sass@gmail.com 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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