Baton relay on its way to Cayman

The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee will celebrate the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay, the traditional curtain raiser to the Commonwealth Games, here this week.

The XX Commonwealth Games opens in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23 and runs until August 3.

Cayman will send its largest team to date, with athletes represented across seven sports – athletics, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, shooting, squash and swimming.

The Commonwealth Games were first held in 1930, and like the Olympics, they are staged every four years. Glasgow 2014 will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition with 261 medal events on offer.

Although there are 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, 70 teams participate in the Commonwealth Games since a number of British overseas territories, Crown dependencies, and island states compete under their own flag. The four Home Nations of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – also send separate teams.

The first Queen’s Baton Relay was staged for the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff and has been a tradition ever since. For the first time in history, the relay will be covered by the BBC across its entire journey.

The baton, which contains Her Majesty’s message to the athletes, arrives the morning of April 11 from Kingston, Jamaica, and will be met by Secretary General of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee Carson Ebanks, 2010 Commonwealth Games 200-meter gold medalist Cydonie Mothersill and Glasgow 2014 Chef de Mission for the Cayman Islands team Jennifer Powell.

The baton team will arrive to a guard of honor and the water salute, which has been organized by Cayman Airways.

The following day, the baton passes through each district in Grand Cayman, with the first leg beginning at the residence of Governor Helen Kilpatrick. She will pass the baton on Seven Mile Beach to Olympic Committee President Donald McLean to begin the relay through the district of West Bay.

The baton will then make its way across the North Sound, with a short stop at Stingray City before traveling through North Side, followed by East End and Bodden Town and finally back into George Town.

Throughout its journey the baton will travel by watercraft, foot, cycle, sailboat and horse. It will stop at numerous historical locations, such as the Turtle Farm, the Wreck of the Ten Sails and the National Museum and be carried by an impressive list of prominent Caymanians of all ages.

Apart from Mothersill, Ronald Forbes and Brett Fraser will be on island to participate in the relay, as well as numerous Caymanian athletes of all abilities.

As Cayman’s first Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Mothersill will carry the baton for the final leg, arriving at Heroes Square for a cultural reception open to the public.

The public is encouraged to celebrate the baton ceremony between 4 and 6 p.m. at Celebration Park, next to the courthouse, where everyone will have the opportunity to see the baton and meet Cayman’s top athletes.

There will be music provided by the Swanky Kitchen Band and a short quadrille performance by George Town Primary. On Monday, the baton goes to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman before its final farewell reception at the governor’s residence.

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