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Gambians welcome Queen's Baton

Dec 14, 2009, 3:27 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

A good number of sports men and women converged at the July 22nd Square in Banjul, on Friday evening for the official ceremony of the second highest profile sporting symbol to visit The Gambia.

The Queen's baton arrived in the Gambian soil earlier on Friday from Sierra Leone on a 4-day visit.

The high-profile ceremony witnessed the unveiling of the Queen's baton to the Gambian people on behalf of the Gambia leader, by Sheriff Gomez, the Minister of Youth and Sports who first ran with the baton this time around.

The Youth and Sports Minister, in his opening remarks, underscored the importance of the arrival of the high- profile sporting symbol in the country.    

He said "we are delighted to have imminent participation among us here as a nation with our time colours of Gambian culture with pride and dignity in this joyous occasion in the annals of sports in the country."

Minister Gomez added "I hope you would not only be witnessing the ... of the occasion but also to see for yourself the cultural diversity of our Smiling Coast, The Gambia."

The baton, according to Abdoulie Touray, the Vice-President for Africa, at the Commonwealth Games Federation, representing all English-speaking African countries who spoke at the occasion, said the baton is as sensitive as it has a sophisticated technological device that takes sounds and images and spreads it worldwide.

Abdoulie Touray who was re-elected unopposed for the same position in 2008  after  serving the Commonwealth for two years  underscored the  significance  of Queen’s Baton's visit to The Gambia.

"The whole idea pertaining to Queen’s baton visit is to spread awareness and to see what the Commonwealth stands for, inorder to promote unity and diversity. This event is also a sense of belonging," Touray pointed out.

Beatrice Allen IOC member for The Gambia and First Vice-President of the Gambia National Olympic Committee also spoke at the occasion.

The ceremony also witnessed the participation of various Ministers, a match-past by participating companies, institutions, as well as cultural groups.

As part of the Baton's visit, institutions, companies and sporting associations are expected to run with the Baton from various locations in Banjul and KMC.

The Baton will also visit Western Region and about 78 schools, before proceeding to the Airport for Ghana on Monday December 14th to wrap-up its four-day visit.

It will be recalled that President Jammeh became the first Head of State to run with the Baton when it first visited the country in 2005.