Running for the Queen
His Excellency the Governor Mr. Duncan Taylor, CBE and Mrs. Beatrice Taylor hosted a gathering at Government House last evening (Thursday, 01 April), marking the presence of the Queen's Commonwealth Games baton in the Cayman Islands.
Sporting a chevron of brightly lit bands, the baton left Buckingham Palace in London on 29 October last year. After journeying across 70 Commonwealth countries, its final destination will be New Delhi, India, the venue for this year's games.
Cayman Islands Olympic Committee President Donald McLean explained that the baton which arrived in Grand Cayman from Jamaica on Wednesday, 31 March, will leave for the Bahamas tomorrow (Saturday, 3 April).
Sports Minister the Hon. Mark Scotland underscored the importance of sports and of the Games for youth throughout the Commonwealth.
Earlier yesterday Cayman's star athletes participated in the relay's Cayman segment by carrying the baton from the Boggy Sands Beach starting point to the centre of downtown George Town.
Remarks at the event by Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Mark Scotland, JP:
Good evening and welcome to tonight's reception which celebrates the Cayman leg of the Queen's Baton Relay. A special greeting to our visitors - we are glad you took the time to visit our Islands, and we are indeed honoured to once again host a leg of this symbolic intercontinental relay.
There is no doubt that the Commonwealth Games is one of the most illustrious international sport events. It brings together some of the biggest sporting nations in the world and is arguably only second to the Olympic Games. Moreover, it gives athletes from smaller Commonwealth nations such as the Cayman Islands, the opportunity to compete on the world stage.
As such, even though Cayman is by no means a Commonwealth powerhouse, we have been able to send athletes to eight games. We have also managed to bring home a medal when our renowned athlete Kareem Streete-Thompson won bronze in the 2002 long jump. This year again, we hope to send a strong team including at least three of our elite athletes - Cydonie Mothersill, Ronald Forbes and Michael Letterlough. Others also have a strong possibility to qualify and I wish all of our athletes the best of luck in their preparation.
But apart from stirring national pride, seeing the Queen's Baton on home soil reminds us that we are part of a larger world as the baton's journey symbolises the unity and shared ideals of the Commonwealth of Nations. Carrying the royal message to the athletes for the opening ceremony this October in Delhi, India, the Queen's Baton is also emblematic of the universal language of sport.
I make no secret of the fact that I believe in the unique power of sport to motivate and inspire, and many times I have witnessed how sport gives people direction and purpose. Just as the vision of Commonwealth Games is to develop sports for the benefit of the people, we are also working hard to increase opportunities for our athletes and to raise the profile of sports in the Cayman Islands.
Already, this year our athletes and sport associations showed great promise: From competing on the world stage, such as the under-17 girls football team's participation in the World Cup Qualifier in Costa Rica, to hosting several international events such as the Byte Midwinter and North American Championships Regatta; the J22 International Invitational Regatta, the NORCECA Volleyball Tournament, and starting in less than two days' time, the CARIFTA 2010 Games.
And so, as our Olympic Committee President Donald McLean has so aptly said, being part of the Queen's Baton Relay also provides us with an opportunity to promote our versatile Islands to the rest of the world. I would like to wish our visitors safe passage as the baton makes it way home to Delhi. I look forward to the opportunity to once again visit your beautiful country, and I hope I will be able to be there to see the Cayman Islands flag raised and cheer on the Cayman Islands' team.
For further information contact: Bina Mani