The TOTAL BWF World Championships welcomed the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay to Glasgow’s Emirates Arena today as it arrived in Scotland ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
On a tour of legacy projects around the city, the Baton visited the Big Hit Festival schools event in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome at the Emirates Arena, where hundreds of schoolchildren were taking part in a wide range of badminton activities.
The Big Hit Festivals, designed to provide a fun introduction to badminton, will run for the first five days of the TOTAL BWF World Championships, with 7,000 youngsters set to pick up a racket during the week.
The Baton Relay was launched on Commonwealth Day, March 13, at Buckingham Palace with Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Badminton Scotland’s Patron the Earl of Wessex, sending it on its global tour.
The Baton was carried into the Emirates Arena by former Scotland international badminton player Susan Egelstaff, who won bronze medals at the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Egelstaff said: “I can’t believe it’s been three years since Glasgow 2014, so it’s really nice to still be a part of the next Commonwealth Games. It’s a real privilege to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
“For me, the nicest part of it is seeing how excited the children get seeing the Baton and hopefully this will spark an interest in the Commonwealth Games for them.
“So many have got the chance to play badminton and hopefully they’ll continue watching it through to the Commonwealth Games next year.”
Jon Doig, Chief Executive of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: “We’ve seen from Glasgow 2014 just how important the Queen’s Baton Relay can be, and having it here now will really get the Scottish public behind the team and really announce the Games are coming.
“After Glasgow, the question was always going to be what’s next, and to have the TOTAL BWF World Championships here is a massive part of that, we’ve been able to fulfil that gap and show the desire for top-level badminton in Scotland.
“All these kids will be here feeling like they’re part of something bigger and that’s fantastic, you can see it, feel it and you realise how possible it is to achieve one day.
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is not just something they’ll read about or watch on TV, they will all be part of a story in the Commonwealth.”
Anne Smillie, Chief Executive of BADMINTONscotland, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Glasgow today, three years after the city hosted a Commonwealth Games to remember.
“Creating a lasting legacy plays an important part of our major events programme, and I know schoolchildren taking part in the Big Hit Festival at the Emirates Arena have been very excited to be part of the Relay’s journey around the city.
“We hope it will inspire them to take up badminton as we continue our pledge to get 25,000 youngsters playing the sport.”
For more information about the TOTAL BWF World Championships go to www.glasgow2017.com
For more information about the Commonwealth Games 2018 head to www.gc2018.com
The TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships 2017 is being staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August.
It is being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council and with funding support from EventScotland and The National Lottery through UK Sport.
Tickets available at www.glasgow2017.com/tickets