REPUBLICAN Vice-President, Guy Scott will flag off activities of this year’s Queen’s Baton Relay, an activity that officially invites Zambia and raises awareness for the 2014 Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in July.
Speaking yesterday at Government Complex in Lusaka when he officially unveiled the route for this year’s relay, Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili said the Commonwealth Games were an important competition as its values extended beyond sport.
Kambwili said as a way of demonstrating how important Zambia valued the quadrennial games, the Vice-President Scott had been tasked to flag-off the event which will see a wide range of people taking part in Lusaka.
Cabinet ministers, diplomats, school children and the community will carry and pass on the baton.
The Queen’s Baton goes round all countries that will be taking part in the Commonwealth Games and is an equivalent of the Olympic Torch.
The Zambian chapter of the relay ,which will be held on January 27, will flag-off from Cabinet Office, through the National Sports Development Centre, making a stopover at the Olympicafrica and then end at the Olympic Youth Development Centre.
“The significance of the Queen’s Baton in Zambia cannot be overemphasised. Zambian, being a member of the Commonwealth, has benefitted diversely from numerous developments that include projects in infrastructure development and capacity building.
“In Sport, Zambia has taken part in the Commonwealth Games since the Scotland Games in Edinburgh in 1970 and has reaped 31 medals in different sporting disciplines,” Kambwili said.
British High Commissioner to Zambia, James Thornton spoke passionately about the Commonwealth, saying it was a unique Club which brought together a special grouping of countries sharing a common goal.
“We are a very special and unique organisation. We believe in building a common future and the Games embody that fact. Games promote equality and athletes compete having respect for each other. That is what the Commonwealth organisation is all about,” he said.
Thornton said Britain had experience in hosting such functions, giving an example of the 2012 London Olympics and that Zambia should be positive and look forward to the Games.
National Olympic Committee vice-president Gabriel Muyinda said: “The Queen’s baton symbolises the harmony and shared ideals of the Commonwealth countries and provides a unique opportunity for the entire Commonwealth to share in excitement of the 20th Club Games to be Glasgow.”
And Kambwili said Team Zambia was presently fine-tuning for the 20th edition of the ‘Club’ Games and was hoping the nation manages to mint a medal against all odds.