BOTH Minister of Sport and Community Development (MSCD) Shamfa Cudjoe and Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA) president Brian Lewis hailed the Queen’s Baton—the torch that is used to build awareness ahead of the Commonwealth Games—as a symbol of unity and diversity.

This country is number 52 of 72 countries and territories within the Commonwealth that will play its part in the Queen’s Baton Relay.

It is a relay that started at Buckingham Palace last October 21 and is set to cover 90,000 miles over 294 days before ending back up in Birmingham for the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

A small function to celebrate the event at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Maraval, Tuesday night—the occasion also marked the 100-day countdown to the Games—TTCGA and Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis said: “It is absolutely great coming to recognise and welcome, in a very significant way, the symbol of unity and diversity in the Commonwealth Sport Movement and the Commonwealth. “Sport is a universal language. It has the power to unite people, countries and nations like no other, in particular youth and young people. Sport can make an invaluable contribution to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.”

Lewis added TTO will be represented for the 19th time at this year’s edition of the Games by athletes carrying the hopes and aspirations of many fans. The Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) boss, whose term as TTOC president ends next week Saturday, added that the Commonwealth has a duty obligation and responsibility to engage the challenges, especially in a period emerging from the Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Cudjoe said the Commonwealth Games is seen as a beacon of hope that empowers and assists to develop their sporting talent and character of young people

“I am pleased and humbled by the opportunity to share this evening’s celebrations with you,” Cudjoe announced. “…(these Games) engender hope and help us to unite as a people with a long, strong history of bond and relationship. So this is about more than medals. It is about unity, love, about us being family, about hope and diversity. It is also about solidarity; one common cause.” British High Commissioner Harriet Cross thanked the TTCGA for developing a programme of activities to showcase the country’s talented athletes. Cross also emphasised how the Games will highlight the diversity of the Commonwealth, reflected in the disparate cultures that exist in Birmingham, home to 190 nationalities speaking more than 200 languages.

“The diversity of Birmingham is reflective of the Commonwealth. The Games will bring together 54 Commonwealth countries in a spirit of friendly competition and a celebration of the COmmonwealth family’s rich diversity,” Cross noted.

She also indicated that Birmingham 2022 is executing a Commonwealth Connections programme, twinning 60 schools in the West Midlands with schools from the Caribbean, including some local schools like Goodwood Secondary, San Juan South Secondary, St George’s College and Holy Faith Convent, Penal.