Held in the hands of the Cayman Islands’ athletes young and old, the Queen’s Baton has helped highlight the archipelago’s natural environment in the lead up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018).
On Grand Cayman, a mixed primary school cricket team joined Olympic sailor Florence Allen (Rio 2016) and swimmer Lara Butler (Glasgow 2014, Rio 2016) to learn about turtle conversation at the Cayman Turtle Centre. In nearly 50 years of operation, the Centre has successfully bred and released 25,000 green turtles; and at Barkers Beach that morning, six juvenile turtles were released in honour of the Queen’s Baton.
The Centre’s managing director Tim Adam was thrilled to learn about the reclaimed plastic used in the Baton’s leading edge. Research indicates half the world’s sea turtles have ingested plastic, a leading cause of turtle death; the strong message of sustainability that the Baton sends through the Commonwealth is one Adam said he supports 100 percent.
At ‘Stingray City’, Olympic sailor Allen jumped into the waist-deep water to showcase a local stingray population. Surrounded by curious rays, she held the Baton high with pride and made sure it kept away from the splashing caused by their excited flapping wings.
Once hideaways for the notorious pirate Blackbeard and other 17th and 18th-century Buccaneers, Cayman Brac and Cayman Little are today home to a couple of basketball-mad children. At a summer basketball camp on the Brac, the young players were fascinated with the Baton’s design and humbled to hold Her Majesty’s message in their hands.
It’s a privilege not lost on veteran athletes either. Trap shooter Christopher Jackson (Manchester 2002, Melbourne 2006, Delhi 2010, Glasow 2015) was just as excited to be a part of the Baton’s adventures in the Caymans, as it reminded him of how exhilarating the Commonwealth games are for athletes.
” All the Games are very special. it allows you to compete against a world-class level of competition. It’s an amazing ride, especially the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. You can’t explain the feeling of representing your country at that level of competition. ”