Commonwealth Games 2022: The Queen’s Baton Relay design and route unveiled

The Queen’s Baton Relay will capture data and stories with its cutting edge technology as it travels through 72 Commonwealth nations and territories

The countdown to the Commonwealth Games continues with the design and route for The Queen’s Baton Relay being unveiled.

The relay will begin on October 7 at Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will place Her message to the Commonwealth.

The Baton will then make an incredible 294-day journey through all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth - including Kenya, Tuvalu and New Zealand.

It will arrive back in England days before the Games commence on July 28 when it will be opened and The Queen’s message will be delivered.

Artists and design experts across the West Midlands have created The Baton with “the strength and fortitude” of women being celebrated throughout - to complement the 2022 Commonwealth Games making history by being the first mult-sport event to award more medals to women than men.

Here are some key facts about this key part of the Commonwealth Games 2022

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Commonweath Games Queens Baton Design Team: L-R: Karen Newman, Founder & Director Birmingham Open Media; Tom Osman, Director of Raymont-Osman Product Design; Laura Nyahuye, Artist and CEO of MAOKWO; Karl Hamlin, Managing Director of Kajul

Who has designed The Queen’s Baton?

The Baton was conceived in the West Midlands by collaboration of teams with a goal to fuse art, technology and science.

The team was headed up by artist Laura Nyahuye, who was born in Zimbabwe and moved to Coventry. She founded MAOKWO, an arts group which works with marginalised minority groups and also helped on the project.

It also included product designers and engineers from Raymont-Osman Product Design, design and development specialists at Kajul - both based in rural Warwickshire.

The technology within the Baton is the work of BOM (Birmingham Open Media), a leading centre for art, technology and science in central Birmingham, developed the technology.

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The Baton was cast using non-precious metals of copper, aluminium and brass. The aluminium was forged using the traditional method of lost was casting in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

The design includes a platinum strand which lines the length of the Baton to pay homage to The Queen in her Platinum Jubilee year, as well as celebrating her role as the Head of the Commonwealth.

Etched onto a steel plaque on the top of the Baton is the Birmingham 2022 logo, a distinctive ‘B’ shape which is a visual representation of communities across the West Midlands. The Commonwealth Games Federation logo is also visible on the Baton, an emblem that reflects the key values of humanity, equality and destiny.

As the Baton travels on its journey and tells stories from communities, the warm copper tones of the Baton will develop a mesmerising patina - a blue-green film that forms on the material after exposure - so it will evolve in appearance as it is passed from Batonbearer to Batonbearer.

The Queens Baton for the Commonwealth Games 2022

How will The Baton capture stories across the Commonwealth?

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Enhanced with cutting-edge technologies, the Baton will capture data and stories from across the Commonwealth, shining a spotlight on grassroots innovation and celebrating the people driving change within their communities.

The Baton features LED lightingand a heartrate sensor that display the heartbeats of Batonbearers. The lighting also changes when two people grip the Baton during handover, celebrating collaboration and the sharing of wisdom between young and old. In a time where human contact has been limited, the Baton addresses how connections matter more than ever.

As well as an illuminated heartbeat, the Baton also has ‘lungs’, consisting of atmospheric sensors with laser technology that analyses the environmental conditions wherever it is in the world.

Augmented Reality (AR) will be used to creatively visualise the data captured throughout the journey to invite more awareness of and conversations around air quality across the Commonwealth. The data will contribute to the ongoing research projects being conducted by atmospheric scientist Professor Francis Pope and his team at the University of Birmingham.

Fitted with a 360-degree camera, the Baton also has ‘eyes’, and a ‘brain’ which records and transmits imagery and digital information, allowing stories from Commonwealth communities to be told. GPS technology allows the Baton to be tracked on its travels.

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What do previous BatonBearers say about the Commonwealth Games 2022 Baton?

Team England rhythmic gymnast Mimi Cesar, who carried the Queen’s Baton for the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, said: “I had the honour of being a Batonbearer for The Queen’s Baton in 2014 and was part of the unveiling event as an athlete ambassador for Team England in 2018, so I know just how much excitement the Queen’s Baton Relay brings to a community.

“I absolutely love the design of the Baton and I’m so proud that it’s reflective of the West Midlands.”

What the team behind the Commonwealth Games 2022 say about The Baton

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:“The unveiling of the Baton design and the international route it will take really does bring into focus the fact the Games are almost upon us. I am delighted that innovation and technology from the Proud Host City of Birmingham features in the Baton, which will showcase our city’s skills and creativity to people in all 72 nations and territories that are a part of the Commonwealth Games. It is another example of how the event is much more than just 11 days of top international sport in our city.”

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport and Tourism said: “The Queen’s Baton will be a fantastic symbol of the West Midlands as it travels across the Commonwealth. The design represents the best of the region’s creativity, innovation and diversity and I look forward to following its journey across the globe."

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Paul Blanchard, CEO of Team England said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is such a good opportunity to really engage and excite all parts of the country that Team England represents so effectively just prior to the Games. We’re looking forward to seeing former and current Team England athletes interact with their local communities along the route.”

Martin Green, Chief Creative Officer at Birmingham 2022, said:“The Queen’s Baton Relay is a special tradition for the Games and a fantastic opportunity to connect the Commonwealth as we countdown to Birmingham 2022. Unveiling the Baton and its international journey is an exciting milestone for us, as we’re just days away from the official launch of the Relay.

“The Baton is the stunning result of art, traditional craftmanship and innovative technology, all designed and made right here in the West Midlands, and I can’t wait to see it embark on its epic journey where thousands of Batonbearers will interact with it. It will be visiting some wonderful places before arriving back here in Birmingham for the Opening Ceremony on 28 July 2022.”

Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin DBE said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is one of the most special aspects of the Commonwealth Games as it so vividly symbolises the friendship, respect and unity across our 72 nations and territories.

“When Her Majesty The Queen places Her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton at Buckingham Palace next week, it will start a spectacular 294-day journey that will begin the final countdown to the Opening Ceremony.

“I know that communities across the Commonwealth will be so excited to see the Baton as it passes through their own villages, towns and cities.

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“I hope that as many Commonwealth citizens as possible can be part of the Relay so that they can experience the true magic of the Commonwealth Games.”

How to get tickets to the Commonwealth Games 2022

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will see 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories taking part in 11 days of spectacular sport, from 28 July – 8 August 2022. The ticket ballot, with prices starting at just £8 for under 16s and £15 for adults, is open right now, but closes tomorrow (30 September), with applicants needing to submit their requests by the 8pm deadline. To apply for tickets now go to birmingham2022.com.

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