Sunday, 31 January 2010

Queen's baton reaches Namibia

Namibia was under spotlight on Friday when the Queen’s Baton, to promote the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, arrived in Windhoek.

The Namibian leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) formed part of a worldwide relay which started at Buckingham Palace on March 8, and is scheduled to reach its conclusion on October 3, when the Queen’s Baton will arrive in New Delhi. Queen's message will be read to the athletes during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

In total, the Queen’s Baton will cover a distance of 190,000km over a period of 340 days, making it one of the longest relays in the history of the Commonwealth Games.

Prime Minister Nahas Angula received the Queen’s Baton from Namibia’s WBA world champion Paulus “The Hitman” Moses on Friday morning, at his office in parliament where he proceeded to read a message on behalf of President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

“The baton’s journey symbolises the harmony and shared ideals of the Commonwealth nations, and will provide an opportunity for the entire Commonwealth to share in the excitement of the 19th Commonwealth Games,” he said.

“With the baton’s exposure through interactive internet technologies and the media attention it will generate, the Namibian leg of the relay has the potential to be watched by millions of people from all over the world. Therefore, our involvement in this exciting event provides us with the opportunity to showcase our country to the rest of the world,” he added.

Pohamba expressed the hope that the arrival of the Queen’s Baton would be a major source of inspiration and encouragement for Namibia’s athletes, as they intensify their training in preparation for the Games.

“I wish to reassure all our athletes that they have the support of the Namibian government in the upcoming New Delhi Games and I encourage all Namibians to rally behind the Namibian team to New Delhi and render them the necessary support to ensure their successful participation in the Games,” he added.

Pohamba also called on Namibia’s coaches and officials to continue preparing so that Namibia could send a strong team in order to bring home ‘many medals.’

Angula then handed the baton over to India’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Tsewang Topden, ‘as a token of our appreciation for the wonderful hospitality that our team will receive in that beautiful country.’

Topden, in turn, handed the baton over to former Namibian athlete, Agnes Samaria, who won a bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, before the relay continued.

The baton was also received by the mayor of Windhoek, Matthew Shikongo at the Municipality headquarters, after which it winded its way down Independence Avenue in the city centre. Athletes from various sporting codes such as cycling, wrestling, hockey and swimming, as well as representatives of the Namibia National Olympic Committee, the Namibia School Sport Union, Special Olympics Namibia and the City Police all participated in the relay before it eventually reached the UN Plaza in Katutura.


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