With not long to go until the XX Commonwealth Games begins in Glasgow, Leeds announced the six Batonbearers selected to carry the Queen’s Baton when it arrives in the city.
The Queen’s Baton Relay will tour Leeds on June 12, visiting local landmarks and acting as the centrepiece for events happening to celebrate the countdown to Glasgow 2014.
The six Batonbearers have been selected by an independent panel of sporting partners from across the city, in recognition of their contribution to sport and the community. They are:
Nile Wilson, 18, a gymnast at Leeds Gymnastics Club, from Leeds.
Sophie Taylor, 18, a swimmer for the City of Leeds, from Harrogate.
Laura Beardsmore, 27, from Horsforth, Leeds, a member of the British Aikido squad.
Paralympic powerlifter Ali Jawad, 25, originally from Lebanon, who now lives Bramley, Leeds.
Sports volunteer Charlie Sansome, 23, from Leeds.
Sports volunteer, Norman Stephens, 74, from Leeds.
Dame Kelly Holmes, president of Commonwealth Games England, said:
“Our England Batonbearers are going to play a crucial part when the Queen’s Baton Relay arrives in England on May 31.
“They have all been selected due to their passion for sport and the way in which they share this with their communities and look to get people involved and active.
“I’m encouraging everyone in Leeds to get involved when the Queen’s Baton Relay comes to your city – find out what event is taking place and if you can be there then please go and cheer on your Batonbearers and be part of the Team England send-off to Glasgow!”
The Batonbearers will carry the baton to a variety of events and activities to inspire and introduce young people to new sports, organised by Leeds City Council.
Events in Leeds will begin when the baton visits Headingley Carnegie Stadium, which will be hosting a talent identification session for pupils from secondary schools across the city.
Young people will get the chance to show their skills in rugby league, cricket and football, in a session being delivered in partnership with local professional clubs.
The celebration will then move on to the John Charles Centre for Sport for an afternoon of multi-sport activity.
Around 1,700 children will be trying out Commonwealth sports delivered in partnership with the national governing bodies.
The day will then conclude with a celebration evening at Leeds Civic Hall, wishing prospective athletes good luck for the Commonwealth Games and showcasing some of the city’s many sporting accomplishments.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills, said:
“Excitement is really building for the visit of the Queen’s Baton Relay and the day is shaping up to be one of the key events in what is a landmark year for sport in Leeds.
“Our Batonbearers have been chosen because they represent wonderful examples of some of the things that make Leeds such a great sporting city and I’m sure they will do us proud as we play our part in this huge, global event.”
The baton will have visited 63 of 70 Commonwealth nations and territories when it arrives in the British Isles on Sunday, May 10.
Landing in Jersey, the baton then journeys through Guernsey, Isle of Man, embarks on a four-day tour of Northern Ireland and then spends a week in Wales.
It will arrive in England on May 31 to begin the penultimate leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay in Manchester, visiting 16 different locations en route to its final destination through Scotland and the start of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The XX Commonwealth Games takes place in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3. Commonwealth Games England is sending a 400-strong team to compete across the 17 sports.