Monday, 19 April 2010

Queen's Baton arrives in Australia

The Queen's baton relay has arrived in Australia as part of a tour of all 71 Commonwealth countries leading up to the Commonwealth Games in India in October.

The honour of carrying the baton on its first leg on Australian soil at Parramatta in western Sydney on Monday went to wheelchair athlete Kristy Pond.

She handed the baton over to NRL players Nathan Cayless and Nathan Hindmarsh.

Commonwealth Games road cycling champion Natalie Bates took the baton to Parramatta wharf where it was put on board a ferry bound for the Sydney Opera House.

It will be passed to former sprinter Matt Shirvington ahead of an official ceremony at the Opera House.

Sporting notables involved in the relay later on Monday include netballers Catherine Cox and Susan Pratley, swimming great Kieran Perkins, and world cycling champions Karlee McCulloch and Ashlee Ankudinoff.

The baton will make its way to Melbourne on Tuesday, then on Wednesday to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, which recently submitted a bid for the 2018 Games.

The baton, which carries the Queen's message to athletes in New Delhi, began its journey from Buckingham Palace last October.

By the time it reaches New Delhi for the October 3 opening ceremony, it will have travelled over 190,000 kilometres in 340 days.

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association is expected to send a team of 425 athletes and 175 officials to India, its largest ever to compete in an overseas campaign.

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