Queen's Baton Relay at the Commonwealth Games

Tradition

The Queen’s Baton Relay is one of the great traditions of the Commonwealth Games, having started at the Games in Cardiff, Wales, in 1958. The Baton is now as much a part of the Commonwealth Games tradition as the torch is part of the Olympics.

Route

The relay traditionally begins with a commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, which coincides with the city’s Commonwealth Day festivities. There Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II entrusts the baton containing Her ‘message to the athletes’ to the first honorary relay runner. The relay concludes at the Opening Ceremony, as the final relay runner hands the baton back to Her Majesty, or Her representative, and the message is read aloud. At that moment the Games begin.

Carrying the Queen's baton relay at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth GamesThe Kuala Lumpur 1998 Queen’s Baton Relay was the first to deliver the relay to other nations of the Commonwealth, besides England and the host country. For the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Queen’s Baton traveled 230,000 km in 388 days, longest in Commonwealth Games history.

Baton Designs

For each Games, the host country designs a unique Baton. Here are descriptions of a few designs.

1994 (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), The Baton was fashioned from sterling silver and was engraved with traditional symbols of the creative artists' families and cultures, including a wolf, a raven and an eagle with a frog in its mouth.

1998 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) The Baton design was inspired by a traditional Malay artifact, the 'Gobek', which is a unique cylindrical areca nut-pounder widely used and displayed in Malay homes.

2002 (Manchester, England) The baton had special significance as it marks the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen and was designed to symbolize the uniqueness of the individual and the common rhythm of humanity.

2010 (Delhi, India) The Queen's Baton for the 2010 Commonwealth Games was a delicate mix of aesthetics and technology with an in-built location tracking system and a camera capable of sending images to the Games website. When it reached New Delhi for the October 3 opening ceremony, it had traveled over 190,000 kilometers in 340 days.

2014 (Glasgow) The Queen's message was held within a titanium lattice framework and was internally illuminated. At the top of the baton was a puzzle mechanism that dispensed granite gemstones to each of the Commonwealth nations and territories that the baton visited, inviting them to join Glasgow at the Games.

2018 (Gold Coast) The 2018 baton has a distinctive loop-design. It will spend time in every nation and territory of the Commonwealth. The Baton Relay is set to be the longest in Commonwealth Games history, covering 230,000 km in 388 days.

Commonwealth Games baton relay runners the 2006 Commonwealth Games baton
being carried through the streets of Melbourne

Unique Events

1998

Malaysia placed their own flavor on the Games, with the Queen’s Baton being carried into the stadium on an elephant. The baton was presented to Prince Edward by Malaysia’s first ever Commonwealth medal winner Koh Eng Tong, a bronze medalist in weight lifting in 1954. The 1998 XVI Commonwealth Games Queen's Relay Baton's design was inspired from a traditional Malay artifact, the 'Gobek' – a unique cylindrical areca nut-pounder widely used and displayed in Malay homes.

2006

The baton has traditionally contained the message from the Queen to the athletes. For the 2006 Games in Melbourne, the 'Queen's message' was actually stored on a memory chip attached to the baton.

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