The Queen’s Baton Relay took in the young, the old, the sporting elite and even Santa Claus in an action packed penultimate day in Auckland today.
Carefully avoiding a dip in the pool at the Sir Owen G Glen Aquatics Centre in Auckland, the baton was passed from gold and silver medal winning Commonwealth swimmer Lauren Boyle to diver Liam Stone and around the newly named swimmers.
Above: Lauren Boyle and selected swimmers with the Queen's Baton
The swimmers then checked out baton to see the names of the countries their rivals would come from, as the baton features the names of every Commonwealth nation and territory in the order in which the relay visited them.
From New Zealand’s sporting elite, to our senior community, the baton was then handed on to one of New Zealand’s most well-known weightlifters, four time Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Precious McKenzie. A resident of the Settlers Retirement Home on the North Shore, McKenzie shared the excitement of the Commonwealth Games with the fellow residents. He also proved he’s still got form with a demonstration of his lifting capabilities.
The residents were delighted to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay and waved New Zealand flags, mixing with the dozen New Zealand Commonwealth Games athletes that took part in the event including Dillon Dunlop-Barrett, Anne Sissons, Dillon Boucher, Tony Sargisson, Stella Ebert and Olivia McTaggart.
Santa Claus and excited Christmas shoppers were next on the list as the baton headed to the Westfield Shopping Centre in Albany where athletes took part in a fun relay around the shopping centre. Santa Claus had a turn holding the baton and wished the athletes a very Merry Christmas. Athletes at the mall included Julia Ratcliffe, Ricky Zhao, Dylan Dunlop-Barrett, Heather Matthews, Tony Sargisson, Richie Patterson, Corneille Coetzee, Kirsten-Lee Pearce, and James Coughlan.
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith said one defining features about the Commonwealth Games is its ability to connect with communities.
“We want as many people to engage with the Commonwealth Games as possible and athletes come from communities all around New Zealand. Having the Queen’s Baton Relay today take in the excited school children counting down to Christmas, our elite swimmers and the senior citizens at Precious McKenzie’s retirement home is what it’s all about.”
The Queen’s Baton Relay will head to Otara Market at 0700 tomorrow morning before a ceremony to hand the baton from the Tangatawhenua to the Yugambeh first nations people of the Gold Coast at Auckland Museum tomorrow at 0930.
Athletes attending the Otara Markets event include Sean McCabe, Kim Robertson, Tupou Neiufu and TeRina Keenan.
Athletes attending the Auckland Museum handover include Krystal Forgesson, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Alexis Pritchard, Kim Robertson, Helen Clarke and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett.