On 10 June, the Queen’s Baton for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 made its official visit to the shores of Barbados in yet another stop on its quest to visiting and spending time in every nation and territory of the Commonwealth till it reaches the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on the 4th April 2018.
Marking a special moment for the citizens of Barbados, local Commonwealth organisations joined in the celebration of this unforgettable moment in time, bearing witness and reflecting upon the power of sport and the unifying characteristics of the Commonwealth Games and the Commonwealth Movement.
All across Barbados, the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA), Commonwealth athletes both past and present, The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) as well as the British High Commission joined hands in carrying the baton around the city celebrating this longstanding Games tradition and the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth Games.
As the Baton toured Barbados, it took a glimpse and experienced the rich and diverse heritage, culture, language and landscape of this small island.
As the iconic Baton passed between people, engaging with the young and old, it embraced and depicted the modern and multicultural Commonwealth of today, increasing our sense of connection and our understanding of each other.
For me, being asked to carry the baton was a unique opportunity to represent the youth of the Commonwealth, whilst acknowledging and representing the renewed purpose for the RCS. Moreover, it allowed me to contemplate on the impact sport has on society, as it integrates its way into all facets of our lives, bonding us despite of our varying differences to celebrate and unite in one common goal; that is Sport.
Despite our vast geographic and demographic variances, countries of the Commonwealth are held to be united through common values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law and even through the common values of sport.
In fact, sport underpins those unique connections of cohesion and friendship which bring together a third of the world’s population as citizens of the Commonwealth. This powerful message is experienced as the baton passes from hand to hand, from country to country, seashore to mountaintop, through towns and villages.
Embodied in this inclusive Queen’s Baton Relay is the opportunity to embrace the Commonwealth’s diversity, whilst inspiring pride and exciting citizens of the Commonwealth about the world-class festival of sports and culture which is to come at the Games.
As the Queen’s Baton Relay continues its historic voyage throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth to the Games next year in Australia, the metaphor of the relay is apt to the intangibly profound lessons that I and the rest of the Commonwealth can cherish every day. These customs and symbols certainly will continue to play an important part in showcasing the values of the Commonwealth, whilst leaving a legacy of the Games, its excitement and a strong belief in the values of sport.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Royal Commonwealth Society.