Search is on for 2,022 inspirational people to carry the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton around England: Haseebah Abdullah, Kadeena Cox, and Salma Bi at the Queen’s Baton Relay Mural
Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games kicks off the search to find the 2,022 Batonbearers who will carry Queen’s Baton around England
Four-time Paralympic champion and first Batonbearer, Kadeena Cox, encourages nation to ‘Take It On’ and share inspiring stories for once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
People can nominate a Batonbearer in England at birmingham2022.com/qbr
Birmingham, UK, 11 January 2021: The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has today launched a search to find 2,022 Batonbearers for the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in England.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Games tradition that builds anticipation for the forthcoming Games by celebrating, connecting, and exciting communities across the Commonwealth and shining a light on untold stories and unsung local heroes from the places it visits.
Batonbearers will play a major role in the Queen’s Baton Relay when it returns to England this summer, taking on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Queen’s Baton in their region during the final build up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
People are encouraged to nominate those who are always willing to take on a challenge, have a unique and inspiring story, are a figure of inspiration who positively challenges others to achieve their best, or is passionate about making a positive impact within their community.
Nominations can be made by visiting the Birmingham 2022 website and submitting 100 words or less on how the nominee is making a difference in their community and why they deserve to take on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Nominations are open for all nine regions of England, which is where the Baton will visit in summer and Batonbearers must be aged 12 or over as of the 2 June 2022.
To mark the launch of the Batonbearer nominations, a commemorative mural has been officially unveiled by Kadeena Cox. The four-time Paralympic champion had the honour of being the first Batonbearer to receive the Baton from The Queen at the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace in October last year. This unique artwork has been designed and created by one of the UK’s most prolific street artists: Gent 48, aka Josh Billingham.
Located in the heart of Birmingham on Navigation Street, near the city’s bustling New Street train station, the vibrant mural celebrates the journey of the Queen’s Baton Relay and features illustrations and symbols of inspiring community figures, which represent the 2,022 Batonbearers currently being sought.
Birmingham 2022’s very own ‘Hometown Heroes’ Haseebah Abdullah and Salma Bi BEM are showcased in the mural in recognition of their inspiring achievements and fantastic contribution to the local community. Haseebah, the first hijab-wearing boxing coach in England and an incredible ambassador for women’s sport, and Salma, who founded the first all Asian women’s cricket team and has encouraged over 1,000 local girls to get involved in grassroots sports, were also involved in the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton also serves as a central element to the mural, as its depiction captures the three metals it was crafted from, copper, brass and aluminium. QR codes added to the mural invite passers-by to engage with the artwork in a meaningful way. When photographed, the QR codes direct the public to the Queen’s Baton Relay website, where they can nominate their hero to be a Batonbearer.
After the Baton has taken on its epic journey across the Commonwealth, where it will have visited Europe, Africa, Oceania, the Caribbean, and the Americas, it will return to England for the final countdown to the Commonwealth Games. The Queen’s Baton will travel the length and breadth of the country for 25 days, before the Relay officially ends at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022.
Kadeena Cox said: “I was incredibly proud to be the first Batonbearer at the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay last year, and it’s now a real privilege to be in Birmingham to help launch the search to find even more Batonbearers across the country. The commemorative mural is amazing and perfectly captures the spirit of the Games – it’s been fantastic seeing the public’s reaction today.
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is a wonderful chance for people to get involved and nominate someone inspiring they know for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Haseebah Abdullah said: “It’s been fantastic to be part of such a significant moment for the Queen’s Baton Relay – I keep doing double takes at my portrait on the mural! In the lead up to the Games, this should be a reminder to everyone to get involved and nominate someone who inspires them. I really hope the people of Birmingham enjoy the mural Gent48 has created, which is all about championing our diverse and brilliant communities. I really can’t wait for the Relay in the summer, it will be such a proud moment for the city.”
Salma Bi added: “It’s amazing to have my portrait included on this commemorative mural to mark the search for 2,022 Batonbearers for the Queen’s Baton Relay. Over the past fifteen years I’ve been dedicated to supporting young girls who are just getting into sport, while also working hard to make cricket more inclusive for Asian women like myself. Along this journey, I’ve met so many inspiring people, so I’m excited to nominate them, as well as encourage nominations from communities across the Midlands and give people the chance to highlight those who have positively impacted their lives.”
Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE, Chairman of Birmingham 2022, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is a chance for the most inspiring people in the country to be recognised for their incredible work, to take on the honour of being involved in this collaborative journey, and to be part of history. The Baton is currently travelling to every corner of the Commonwealth, visiting hundreds of communities and celebrating those that strive to make a difference. We want to find these individuals here in England, and with the nominations process starting today, we want you to nominate your local hero and tell us why they should be a Batonbearer. The Queen’s Baton Relay is already bringing people together all over the world, and when it returns to England this summer, it will be a momentous celebration during the final countdown to the Games.”
Lisa Hampton, Head of the Queen’s Baton Relay, said: “Since launching the Queen’s Baton Relay just three months ago, it’s been amazing to see so many incredible people from all over the Commonwealth take on the role of Batonbearer, as the international journey has been progressing. As the Relay continues, the anticipation for the Baton to return home is building immensely. I am delighted that we are now underway with finding the amazing people who will have the honour of carrying the Baton and representing England this summer. I’m eager to see the inspiring people we find and to hear their remarkable stories.”
Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin DBE said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is one of the most important aspects of the Commonwealth Games. It holds the message from Her Majesty The Queen inviting the athletes of the Commonwealth to compete at the Games.
“As the Queen’s Baton travels around England on the final leg of its journey before the Opening Ceremony, we have this very special opportunity for 2,022 people to become Batonbearers. I would urge everyone across the country to nominate those inspirational individuals who deserve to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Commonwealth Games Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “This is an incredible opportunity to join the Queen’s Baton Relay in the Platinum Jubilee year. As we countdown the days to the opening ceremony of Birmingham 2022, this final leg of the 72-nation relay will shine a light on the unsung heroes who make a real difference to their local communities. I’m looking forward to seeing all those selected take part this summer in a unique relay that will showcase the best of our towns and cities and help bring us back together in 2022.”
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The role of Batonbearer is one that has huge significance as part of the Commonwealth Games, and is a tremendous honour for those who are selected to carry it.
“If you know of an inspirational figure in your family, neighbourhood or community who can take it on here in the Proud Host City of Birmingham or the Proud Host Nation of England, now is the time to get in touch and make a nomination, so we can show off to the Commonwealth and wider world what the 2022 Games are all about.”
The criteria for a Batonbearer is someone who meets one or more of the following:
Always willing to take on a challenge and has a unique and inspiring story;
Has made a meaningful contribution to sport, education, the arts, culture, or charity;
Is a figure of inspiration that positively challenges others to achieve their best;
Has taken on a challenge or cause and made a positive impact within their community
Nominations for Batonbearers for the Queen’s Baton Relay in England are now open. To nominate and find out more, visit www.birmingham2022.com/qbr