The Queen’s Baton Relay comes to St Vincent and the Grenadines

St Vincent and the Grenadines was first represented at the Commonwealth Games (then called The British Empire and Commonwealth Games) when they were hosted by Cardiff, Wales, in 1958. At the time the St Vincent and the Grenadines Amateur Athletics Association (then SVGAAA, now Team Athletics St Vincent and the Grenadines) was the national body affiliated to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). It was common at the time where Commonwealth Games Associations did not exist in their own right to have the governing body for Athletics serve as the representative organisation in this regard.
Once the National Olympic Committee was established and duly affiliated to the International Olympic Committee (1987) it soon gained recognition as the legitimate affiliate of the CGF in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
‘Sap’ Coombs managed the team. It included Elton Lloyd Anderson and Godfrey Roberts.
Anderson competed in the 100 yards finishing fifth in the ninth Heat in a time of 10.3 seconds. He placed sixth in the third Heat of the 220 yards event in a time of 23.2 seconds. These were hand times.
Roberts contested the High Jump in which he finished 20th with a leap of six feet one inch. He was 30th in the Long Jump with a distance of 19 feet and five and one half inches. In the Triple Jump he failed to record a legal jump.
The Queen’s Baton Relay was first introduced for the first time at the Cardiff edition of the Games.
The Queen’s Baton
The Queen’s baton is designed to carry a message from the Monarch of the United Kingdom, which will be read at the official Opening Ceremony of the particular edition of the Commonwealth Games.
As happens with the Olympic Torch, it was the norm for the Queen’s Baton was taken to a limited number of countries affiliated to the CGF. In 2006 this changed. The Organising Committee of the host city of Melbourne, Australia, transformed the Queen’s baton into a technological marvel that could carry live images. The Organising Committee gained sponsorship that facilitated taking the Baton to all of the affiliates of the CGF. Thus St Vincent and the Grenadines gained its first experience in participating in the quadrennial Queen’s baton Relay in 2005. The Games took place in Melbourne in March 2006 at which this country participated with its largest ever contingent to the Commonwealth Games.
The Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games scheduled for Delhi, India, during the period 3 – 14 October 2010, is another marvel. According to the Delhi2010 Organising Committee:
The Queen’s Baton 2010 Delhi is a fusion of handcrafted elements interplayed with a precision engineered body, and ornamented with an intricate hand layered soil pattern. The shape and design of the baton is created using a triangular section of aluminium which has been twisted in the form of a helix and then coated with a diverse range of coloured soils collected from all corners of India.
The interweaving of coloured soils, including white sands, deep reds, warm yellows, dark browns and an array of other hues creates a very distinctive design, form and texture never before seen in the styling of a Queen’s Baton. The very essence of India with its diversity and unrelenting endeavour towards a harmonious and progressive nation has shaped the inspiration of the baton.
Culminating at the pinnacle of the Queen’s Baton 2010 Delhi is a precious jewellery box containing the Queen’s ‘message to the athletes’. The Queen’s message has been symbolically engraved onto a miniature 18 carat gold leaf, representative of the ancient Indian ‘patras’. Modern laser technology known as micro calligraphy has been used for the first time to reproduce the Queen’s message in this method.
…. The Queen’s Baton 2010 Delhi embodies the fusion of a diverse India and its contemporary avatars – an enterprising, young nation with many facets.
This particular Baton has the following features:
Capturing images and sound
•    The baton has the ability to capture images and sound as it travels through all 71 nations of the Commonwealth. Images and sound from the baton will be available on the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi website.
GPS system
•    The latest global positioning system technology housed within the baton will allow its location to be viewed on the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi website.
LED lighting
•    Light-emitting diodes embedded within the baton will transition into the colours of a country’s flag, whilst the baton is in that country.
Text messaging
•    Messages of congratulations and encouragement can be sent to the baton. Selected messages will be available for viewing on the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi website.
The QBR was officially launched at Buckingham Palace, London, England, 29 October 2009. The Baton will, by the time of the commencement of the Games in Delhi have traversed all 71 affiliates of the CGF through 190,000 kilometres over a period of 340 days.
The Relay serves as a symbol of the ideals shared by the members of the Commonwealth and the unity that the members of this body strive to achieve. Sport in general and the Commonwealth  Game sin particular are seen as critical to the forging of unity among the members of the Commonwealth.
The QBR in SVG
St Vincent and the Grenadines will host the Queen’s Baton during the period 6 – 8 March 2010.  Given that March is Heritage Month here in St Vincent and the Grenadines the theme agreed to by the NOC is ‘Celebrating of Heritage’.
A two-member team from the Delhi Organising Committee accompanied by a photographer, will arrive here on 6 March. Apart from a brief Welcoming Ceremony and media conference at the airport there will be no activities on the day of arrival.
On Sunday 7 March, the QBR will begin in earnest. The Relay will commence at the base of the climb to the Soufriere volcano. There will be a number of persons who have been identified who will take the Baton at different stages in the climb.
In the afternoon the Relay will recommence at the Obelisk on Dorsetshire Hill and wind its way through Kingstown to the Governor General’s residence.
The following day the QBR will move to Mustique.
The Games of 2010
The St Vincent and the Grenadines has indicated that this country will be represented at the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi later this year. In April, Jacintha Ballantyne, the Chef of Mission, will attend the Chefs Seminar, which allows participants to get a firsthand experience of the preparations in which the host city is involved.
Already the NOC has engage din some measure of planning and budgeting. The sports that are eligible to participate have been identified and the Chef has begun communicating with them in this regard.
While in 2006 our netballers qualified to participate this time around they did not succeed in making it through to the Finals in Delhi.
This year’s edition of the Games poses many challenges, not the least of which is the time of the year – October. This is the conditioning period for many of our athletes. This may well be one of the reasons why the Caribbean’s best  track and field athletes may opt out of going to the competition.
Several of the affiliates of the NOC whose sport is included on the Programme of the Commonwealth Games relish the opportunity to participate.
The NOC has been in receipt of stinging criticisms from several quarters over the sending of teams to international events where our athletes seem underprepared or clearly well below the level expected of participants.
It is to be expected that the various national sports associations pay due consideration to criticisms and strive to do better.
The last time that the QBR took place here there was no shortage of Vincentians from all walks of life who came forward to participate. While not everyone may have the distinction of carrying the Baton the participation by our people is itself an important symbol of the power of sport over the various divisive factors impacting Vincentian society today.
Let us hope that the presence of the Baton will facilitate a new sporting ethos in St Vincent and the Grenadines that will redound to the benefit of the nation.