Mpumalanga Province welcomes the Queen’s Baton Relay | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mpumalanga Province welcomes the Queen’s Baton Relay

The Mpumalanga Province received the Queen’s Baton Relay with much excitement and enthusiasm on Wednesday.

The Baton was accompanied by SASCOC representatives together with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) delegation, who showcased the baton and its symbolism to the different communities.

The delegation left Johannesburg early morning and headed to Emalahleni, where it was warmly welcomed by community members, including school kids, sports legends and the department of Culture, Sport and Recreation.

Sports legends, including 1996 Atlanta Olympics marathon gold medallist Josia Thugwane, did a two-kilometre relay with the Baton.

The vice-president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Gideon Sam, explained the importance of the Commonwealth Games to South Africa and the significance of the Queen’s Baton, which is Her Majesty The Queen’s call to all 71 countries and territories of the Commonwealth before it’s arrival at the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games on 4 April next year.

Sam also encouraged the community, especially the youth, to aim higher and succeed, despite their circumstances and where they come from.

There were tug-of-war and rope-skipping competitions by the school kids, sports legends and SASCOC representatives before the delegation departed to the Waterval Boven community. There, the same message was conveyed and community members had a chance to carry the baton.

The Baton also visited the mass grave at Waterval Boven, where 63 Mozambican mine workers died in a train accident in 1949. The CGF, department of Culture, Sport and Recreation in Mpumalanga and SASCOC placed flowers at the cemetery in commemoration of these mine workers.

The Baton then headed to its last destination for the day, Mbombela, where rugby, netball, athletics, football and athletes with disabilities ran a 3km relay, carrying the baton to the Mbombela stadium. School children who were present had a chance to hold the Baton.

The delegation was treated to a fine dinner in the evening, hosted by the MEC for Culture, Sport and Recreation.

On Thursday, the delegation continues its tour of Mpumalanga by visiting the Leroro and Matibidi communities in Thaba Chweu,  God’s Window, the Bourke’s Luck Potholes and Three Rondavels.