The twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago has been the first Caribbean nation to receive the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) Queen’s Baton.
The two islands’ distinct and beautifully contrasting personalities were reflected in the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR), which in Trinidad and Tobago, focused on the nation’s past, present and future.
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA), Brian Lewis, used the Baton’s visit to highlight the nation’s rich heritage and to focus on youth participation in sport.
Lewis said that being able to understand and appreciate a nation’s history helps provide a sense of direction for its future.
“If you don’t know your past, and you don’t respect and acknowledge your history in the form of its culture and heritage, we won’t know where we are going.”
Past and aspiring Commonwealth Games athletes carried the Baton through Trinidad’s built-up capital city, Port of Spain. Along the way, they paid respect to several heritage trust sites including the Queen’s Park Savannah, the Magnificent Seven and Botanical Gardens.
One champion who took part in the celebrations was Roger Gibbon, arguably the nation’s most legendary cyclist and dual Commonwealth Games medallist.
Gibbon, who brought home Trinidad and Tobago’s first gold medal at the Jamaica 1966 Games, reflected on his experience as a Batonbearer, and encouraged young people to continue their path in sports.
“It felt great to carry the Queen’s Baton again, it brought back fantastic memories. The group of young athletes that ran with the Baton and chanted all the way were very good and it’s important they continue to play sport.”
Leaving the bustling city, the Baton continued its journey to Tobago, where the pace slowed to ‘island time’. On the Caribbean’s trademark beaches local school children took a break from playing football to share time with the Baton, which was also relayed to Pigeon Point Heritage Park.
True to the program’s intentions, the Baton’s visit embraced Trinidad and Tobago’s past, inspired GC2018 hopefuls and encouraged a future generation to be active through sport.
The GC2018 Queen’s Baton will journey next to Grenada.