Antrim Borough Council was honoured to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to the Borough last week as it continued its 248 day journey to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The privilege of carrying the Baton was awarded to Elise McFarland (Age13), a member of Antrim Ladies Netball Club who was recently selected for the North East Regional Development Academy.
Mayor of Antrim, Councillor Roderick Swann was on hand to greet Elise and the baton as it arrived at Antrim Forum.
The Mayor commented, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the Queen’s Commonwealth Baton Relay to Antrim. This is a fantastic opportunity for the people of the Borough to witness the spectacle of the batons journey. It really is an honour to be included in part of its globe-spanning relay in the lead up to this summer’s Commonwealth Games.”
Excited to be passing the Baton, Elise McFarland said, “Being selected to pass the Baton is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I hope that I am able to follow this by competing in Netball at the next games in 2018.”
The Baton received a joyous welcome from residents and local sports personalities including three times Commonwealth Games athlete Zoe Brown, Pole-vaulter and former gymnast.
Zoe is aiming for new heights at her fourth Commonwealth Games place in Glasgow this summer, “It’s great to be part of the Commonwealth Baton celebrations at Antrim Forum, I train here throughout the year and the facilities are excellent. It’s been a great year so far for me and after jumping my best in February, I’m hoping to improve on my seventh place finish at the 2002 Games in Manchester.”
Zoe was joined by another Antrim Commonwealth hopeful, Nordia Masters. Nordia is part of the NI Senior Netball team which recently made history by becoming the first ever Northern Ireland team to qualify for the Commonwealths in the Sport of Netball. As part of the celebrations, the athletes spent time with local children’s activities groups, sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for Commonwealth games.
Anna Boyle, Sports Development Manager with Antrim Borough Council and a former Commonwealth competitor comments, “The arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay is a thrilling moment for the Borough. This visit to Antrim Forum highlights the world-class facilities available and once again exemplifies the Council’s commitment to sport and physical activity.
“Today’s event presented a once in a lifetime opportunity for local children to see and welcome the baton and for us all to gather together and share our excitement and support for the Commonwealth Games.”