The Queen’s Baton Relay that has been touring around the world to mark the upcoming Commonwealth Games in October this year left Botswana for Namibia on Thursday, after confirming and endorsing Botswana as a diverse member of the Commonwealth.
“This is the second time we are hosting the baton, having first hosted it in 2005. The Queen’s Baton simply confirms and endorses Botswana as a diverse member of the Commonwealth,” said President of the Commonwealth Games Botswana, Negroes Kgosietsile.
The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, added that the Baton relay marks an important event in the history of Botswana Sports.
“We are very proud, pleased and inspired as a country to host the Queen’s Baton Relay in preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games which will be held in New Delhi, India from the 3rd to 14th October, 2010 mainly because the baton demonstrates the sovereign and unifying spirit among Commonwealth member states,” he said.
Kgathi further said the Baton also helps sensitize and create awareness of the 2010 Commonwealth Games among participating member states, and encouraged all stakeholders to fully participate in all activities that have been arranged to achieve that purpose.
“I also urge the BNOC and its affiliates to work hard in ensuring that they select a strong and competitive team to represent the country in the upcoming 2010 Commonwealth Games and bring home medals,” he said.
Kgathi explained that the Commonwealth Games are important as they provide athletes with a useful platform to prove their athletic potential, adding that it is his hope that Botswana team will bring more medals than before.
The Queen’s Baton arrived in Botswana on the 25th this year and left the country on the 28th. On the 26th the baton moved from Boatle turn off to Ramotswa main Kgotla where it was welcomed by dignitaries, among them former president, Sir Ketumile Masire.
The baton was also accompanied by high sports personality in the country, Khumiso Ikgopoleng and Glody Dube. The day also saw cultural performances from local poets and traditional dance groups.
More interestingly, the Baton rode on horses as people followed on bicycles. The Queen’s Baton Relay commenced from Buckingham Palace, London, on the 29th October and will be relayed to the other 70 Commonwealth Nations covering more than 170, 000 kilometers in 240 days.
The baton is now headed to Namibia.