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Schedule for Southampton's Commonwealth Baton tour revealed
THE schedule for the iconic Commonwealth Games baton's once-in-a-lifetime visit to Southampton has today been announced.
Thousands are expected to line the streets to welcome the baton when it arrives in the city on next Wednesday ahead of this summer's 2014 Games in Glasgow.
A team of elite sportspeople will carry it to key landmarks in an extravaganza rekindling memories of Olympic torch route two years ago.
Olympic medal winning athlete Iwan Thomas is spearheading the team of six bearers responsible for its safe passage.
The community heroes have been nominated for their contributions to sports, coaching and education in the Hampshire area.
Southampton has been specially chosen as only one 16 places privileged to receiving in the countdown to the international sporting contest kicking off in the Scottish city on Wednesday, July 23.
The baton will arrive at 8am where Mr Thomas - the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games 4 x100m relay silver medallist - will carry it aboard the iconic Queen Elizabeth liner.
He is joined by Southampton Park Run founder James Saunders for a 40 minute presentation on the ship.
Next rowing coach Nick Chmarny will take it to Southampton Guildhall where at 11am it will be welcomed by civic guests and members of the public at the annual Mayor Making Ceremony.
Mr Chmarny has nurtured young rowers for more than three decades at Coalporters ARC and the surrounding area including Team GB star Caragh McMurtry.
From there it will arrive at Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre at 1.50pm ahead of a mass youth sporting event.
The TRYathlon features the chance for 600 local school children to try new sports.
Wheelchair rugby star Richard Cartwright and Team Solent Sharks Wheelchair Rugby coach netball coach Chris Grainger will hold aloft the baton there until 3pm.
Ms Grainger set up the Saucony ladies team for young mums now renamed Dreams.
The final showdown is from 5-7pm at the Guildhall Square when Southampton and Team GB diving coach Annie Clewlow carries it onto the stage amid cheering crowds.
It climaxes with a spectacular display from 6.30-6.55pm by cliff divers La Quebrada featuring Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist Peter Waterfield.
All six batonbearers will united while there will be the chance for people to try an vast array of sports including tennis, boxing, gymnastics, hockey, rowing ergos, handball shot challenge, hula hoops, instant ping table tennis, crazy catch.
There will also be competitive bike racers run by South Coast Sprints.
City council leisure and council head Mike Harris said: “Southampton gets its chance to be a part of the exciting build up to the Commonwealth Games with this prestigious special event.
“We want to see as many people as possible dressing up in red and white in support of Team England and to welcome the Queen's Baton to the city.”
Commonwealth Games England President Dame Kelly Holmes echoed his sentiments and said: “Please go and give sport a go, cheer your inspirational batonbearers and be part of the Team England send-off to Glasgow.”
The baton will tour all 70 Commonwealth nations featuring in the Games which run until Sunday, August 3.
It arrived in the British Isles Sunday, May 10, for a tour of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man before a four-day trip in Northern Ireland and a week in Wales It touches down in Manchester on Saturday [May 31] for the penultimate leg of the relay where it visits 16 different English locations before its final journey through Scotland.
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