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Queen's Baton heads for Malaysia
Saturday, 12th June 2010

The Queen's baton left Brunei for
its 66th destination, Malaysia
yesterday. Picture: BT file

The Queen's Baton has left Brunei and is bound for its 66th destination, Malaysia, where it will be featured in the country's national sports games (Sukma) in Malacca before the 71-nation relay of the baton is carried on to the capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The Brunei Times caught up with the "guardian" of the baton, Louis Rosa and his colleagues from the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games 2010 Dehli, for which the baton relay is being held, at the Brunei International Airport yesterday before they left for Malaysia.

Sharing his insights of the Brunei leg of the baton relay Rosa said, "We had a wonderful day (during the actual relay in Brunei). Lots of people came out to participate in the relay and run with it."

More than 2,000 people had joined in the relay in Brunei, far surpassing initial estimates of 900 people. "We had different groups involved: the high commissions of the commonwealth nations, each had a chance with members of their own community to run with the baton. Also local sports groups and communities here in Brunei," said Rosa.

The president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah launched the 15-kilometre leg of the relay from the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah shopping complex in the capital.

It was then passed on to various Brunei sports personalities passing through 16 checkpoints in Bandar Seri Begawan including a 10-minute ride along the Brunei River to the backdrop of the rustic water village, Kg Ayer. Other landmarks included along the way included the historic Bubungan Dua Belas (House of Twelve Roofs) and the Kg Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery.

"We went across the river on a boat, which was exciting even though the waters were a little bit choppy," said Rosa.

Abd Rahman Hj Omar, who won gold in the men's pairs and silver in the men's singles at the Seventh Asia Lawn Bowls Championships in China in 2008, was the final baton bearer as he made his way through the penultimate stop, the Budiman Walk at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.

The baton was then returned to His Royal Highness, who passed it on to Malaysia's high commissioner to Brunei, signifying the transition of host of the baton relay.

"His Royal Highness Prince Sufri Bolkiah gave us great hospitality and patronage of the event. Everybody was very happy and it was great to see so many smiling faces," Rosa said.

The Queen's Baton was also showcased in an exhibition in The Mall, Gadong, where the public was given the opportunity to get a closer look at it, which has built-in features such as a camera, GPS (Global Positioning System) to track its whereabouts during the relay, among others. The relay is a traditional curtain raiser since the Cardiff 1958 Commonwealth Games in Wales.

Courtesy from Brunei Times