Ambode Receives Queen’s Baton, Tasks Team Nigeria to Excel in Gold Coast

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Femi Solaja

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has tasked the country’s sports administrators to use the Queen’s Baton relay trip to Nigeria to kick-start preparations for how Team Nigeria will excel when the 2018 Commonwealth Games begin in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia next year.

The Games are scheduled to start on April 4 through April 15, 2018.
The Queen’s baton relay has been the traditional curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games since the 1958 edition in Cardiff, Wales when it was first introduced as part of the Commonwealth games.

Governor Ambode who received the Queen’s Baton at Alausa yesterday said that it has become necessary for Nigeria to put its facilities in good order to encourage the youths of the country to excel in sports.

He said that Lagos was in the vanguard of revamping all her sports facilities to give athletes conducive atmosphere to prepare and to win medals for Nigeria.
The governor who received the Queen’s Baton from President of the CGA in Nigeria, Habu Gumel, congratulated Australia as the host of the Commonwealth Games next year.

Speaking earlier, Gumel promised that Team Nigeria would excel at the Commonwealth Games noting that Nigeria has always being a powerhouse at the Games adding that preparation was already on from different sporting federations to ensure that Team Nigeria surpasses the 11 gold medals and 11 silver medals won at the last Games in Glasgow.

Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari thanked Ambode and expressed his willingness to collaborate with states willing to revamp dilapidated facilities for the good of Nigerian youths.
Dignitaries present at the short but colourful ceremony included the leader of the International QBR Team, Gideon Sam, Adam Best, Patricia Quayle, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Colin Briggs.

There were also Australian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Paul Lehman, Chief Solomon Ogba, Hon. Tunde Popoola, Mrs Hauwa Kulu-Akinyemi, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, Dr. Jonathan Nnaji, Rev Ikpea and a galaxy of Nigeria’s former and athletes and Paralympians including; Chioma Ajunwa, Yusuf Alli, Henry Amike, Falilat Ogunkoya, Enefiok Udo-Obong, Rashidat Ogundele, Bose Omolayo, Kehinde Paul, Virginia Ohagwu.

Lagosians later trooped out en-masse buoyed by the music of supporters club led by Dr Rafiu Ladipo as the Queen’s Baton passed through Ojuelegba and back to the National Stadium in Surulere.

The highlight of the programme was the cultural and choreography display by children with disabilities from the famous Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children and Heart of Gold Hospice in Surulere.

The Queen’s baton relay was first hosted in Nigeria in April 2002, ahead of the event in Manchester and since then the Baton has visited the country in 2005, 2009 and 2014 before the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne (Australia), Delhi (India) and Glasgow (Scotland) respectively.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II flagged off the Baton Relay at the Buckingham Palace on March 13. The next destination of the Queen’s Baton is Kenya starting from tomorrow.