Africa-Press – Lesotho. The 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) that is touring around the Commonwealth Games countries arrived in Lesotho last week Thursday at Moshoeshoe I International Airport before it could visit several places around the country on Friday and Saturday.
The QBR is the traditional curtain raiser to the Commonwealth Games since the 1958 games in Cardiff, Wales, and this year is heading to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games starting on the 4th of April 2018.
The QBR team is headed by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president, Louise Martin who revealed that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had sent a message via the baton for Lesotho as well as all the other Commonwealth Games countries.
She said the Queen was happy to find that the baton would start its journey in Africa because Africa was so dear to her. According to Martin, the Queen with the baton, calls to the countries to come together in friendly competition at the games and throughout the tour the Queen believes everyone would share the dream of camaraderie among the athletes.
“The Queen’s massage is to the Lesotho athletes ahead to the games is to train hard, believe in themselves and compete hard,” pointed out Martin.
Martin also highlighted that this year’s baton is the most accessible as it was not just passing through, but spends quality time in each relay community/country.
The passing of the baton through each country, she said, would give larger number of the population an opportunity to have a memorable ‘Commonwealth’ experience.
This is the fourth time the baton is visiting the Mountain Kingdom and His Majesty King Letsie III said he was very happy to “receive his visitor once again” (the baton) at the Royal Palace in Maseru.
He said the Commonwealth Games mean a lot to the Commonwealth countries as it binds them together as one family and also promote oneness. The King was also delighted that during the stay of the baton in the country, Basotho would be able to showcase their side of tourism and scenery to the guests.
“Apart from that the touching of the baton by our youths will increase their eagerness to achieve high in sports,” added the King. He concluded by wishing all the best to Lesotho athletes who will be fighting for high stakes at the Commonwealth Games.
The baton was also a ‘visitor’ at Matelile region in Mafeteng district as decided by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) but along its way to Matelile on Friday it met school students and communities along the way who were happy to have a feel of it.
Principal Chief of Matelile, Moholobela Seeiso Moholobela said he was happy for his region to be selected as the baton host. He pointed out that they hope the baton would restore peace in Matelile.
“Matelile is one of the regions recently having a high crime rate.
My people are killing each other day and night and what is happening today I believe will be educative to them that this place is not meant for crime but for peace,” said Seeiso.
Among others ‘who met with the baton’ are Prime Minister Dr Pakalitha Mosisili, several cabinet ministers, diplomats and other dignitaries who were present during the launch of the baton by the their Majesties at Royal Palace on Friday before it moved to Matelile.
The baton left the country yesterday to South Africa, and that will be the end of its African journey before heading to the tropical island nations of the Caribbean. To Lesotho the baton was from Swaziland and Lesotho was the 17th country to celebrate the baton out of 18 African countries.