The 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC 2018) has kicked off as the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) made its final route throughout the city of the Gold Coast after traversing 40,000km across the nation.
The Relay tradition celebrates the diversity of the Commonwealth, fosters community pride and excitement as this world-class festival of sports descends on the Gold Coast from 4-15 April.
Incredibly, the GC 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay was the longest and most accessible in history, travelling throughout the entire Commonwealth for 388 days and spanning an incredible 230, 000km. To facilitate this incredible journey, an array of individuals from youngsters to Olympic Champions proudly hoisted the Baton as they charted their way across the city’s waterways, streets and parks.
Among the mix was 17-year old rising star, Piper Harrison, who recently claimed the 2017 QLD Open Surfing Championship title. The talented surfer is currently juggling high-school commitments with her aspirations as a professional surfer, but could barely contain her excitement at being invited to participate in such an historic event.
“It didn’t set in until like this morning and then I was being briefed. I was like this is amazing, so excited and it’s just such an honour. I can’t believe it, it’s very surreal right now as I was walking up the beach [holding the Baton],” Harrison said after cruising into Burleigh Heads beach on her surfboard.
“I was just meeting Gold Medalist’s [Cate Campbell], a guy who lives in New York and skates, it’s amazing and just a really great opportunity. Cate Campbell, she’s amazing, she speaks so well and she’s gotten really into these games and helps organize it. It’s just an amazing opportunity… It makes you want to be at the top, it’s amazing how they about the hard work and the grit, but seeing them it really inspires me and makes me really want to get there.”
Her words were echoed by Australian swim star and Commonwealth champion, Lisa Curry. Struggling to hold back tears as she charted the streets of the Gold Coast hoisting the Queen’s Baton, Curry said “it is a huge honour you know. It’s not just for athletes, what I love about it is that the whole community gets involved and it’s so great to see so many people coming out and supporting the Baton and the Gold Coast. This is massive for Gold Coast, this is massive for Queensland and Australia to go world-wide”
“It inspires so many people – all the people watching, all the volunteers that are here at the Commonwealth Games – will take away something.”
Yes, it seems inspiring is the message of the day, and perhaps indeed, the deeper resolve behind the games. Motivational speaker and severely disabled double amputee, John Coutis, channeled the spirit of the games as he spoke of the need to keep going, overcome obstacles and not allow anything to “hold your back”. “If I can do it, then so can you”, the bubbly 49 year old said as he skated his way along the road [with the sole use of his hand] all the while hoisting the Queen’s Baton in the air.
Get set for an exciting 11 day show-casting of the Commonwealth’s best athletes sparring for glory. So, where to will the games take you?
Tickets for the games are available at www.gc2018.com/tickets
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