Her Majesty The Queen has officially launched the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay, a key milestone for the hundreds of New Zealand athletes working towards the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
Birmingham 2022 is preparing to welcome 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories for 11 days of sport, from 28 July – 8 August 2022.
New Zealand Team preparations are well underway with around 240 New Zealand athletes expected to wear the fern and compete at the Games. New Zealand's athletes will compete in around seven para sports and twenty able bodied sports as Birmingham delivers the largest ever Commonwealth Games para sport programme.
The Queen’s Baton Relay marks the beginning of the Games campaign, with Her Majesty The Queen placing a special message inside the Baton which will visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth over the next 294 days. The Baton will arrive in New Zealand on March 12th and will tour the country, connecting Commonwealth athletes with communities up and down New Zealand.
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith says the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay will spur on our elite athletes as they prepare for the pinnacle event.
“The Commonwealth Games is always a fantastic display of sport, friendship and diversity,” said Smith.
“Our Olympic athletes have just captivated the nation with brilliant performances in Tokyo and our Commonwealth sports are now looking forward to their opportunity to do the same in just under 300 days-time.”
“This period now is where the rubber hits the road and training, focus and preparation goes up a notch. We wish all the best to the athletes who are striving to represent New Zealand at the Games.”
Women’s T20 cricket and 3x3 basketball will make their Commonwealth Games debuts in Birmingham. White Fern Suzie Bates says she and her teammates are looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a really exciting 12-months coming up for us with the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand followed by the Commonwealth Games,” said Bates.
“The relay kicking off is a great reminder that the Games aren’t too far off now and all of us from the White Ferns are super excited to be a part of it.”
New Zealand has won a total of 656 Commonwealth Games medals since the Games began in 1930.
About the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Birmingham 2022 will welcome 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories for 11 days of spectacular sport, from 28 July – 8 August 2022.
The New Zealand Team will be represented by up to 240 athletes, competing in around 20 sports and seven para sports. Selections to the team will begin in early 2022, with women’s T20 cricket and 3x3 basketball to debut on the programme.
Able bodied and para-athletes will once again compete side by side at the Games, as Birmingham brings the largest ever Commonwealth Games para-programme to life.
Birmingham 2022 will make global sport history by becoming the first ever major multi-sport event to award more medals to women than men.
The Games will be the largest sporting event in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic Games.