Published Sunday 16 May 2010

MEDIA RELEASE16 May 2010

For immediate release: 

QUEENS BATON RELAY BRINGS EXCITEMENT TO SCHOOLS

The Queen’s Baton Relay gets underway in New Zealand tomorrow (eds. Monday 17 May 0930am) as Olympic and Commonwealth athletes Hayley Palmer, Daniel Bell and Sam Webster take the baton to thousands of school children in Manukau City. New Zealand’s most medalled Commonwealth athlete, Danyon Loader, will lead the team as primary and secondary students begin the relay at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Manukau City before taking the Queen’s Baton around ten schools in the South Auckland region over two days.Loader, who competed at the Auckland (1990), Victoria (1994) and Kuala Lumpur (1998) Commonwealth Games is looking forward to taking the Queen’s Baton to young New Zealanders.“The Queen’s Baton Relay brings the excitement and community atmosphere of the Commonwealth Games to New Zealand. The school students will have a chance to share in something exciting,” said Loader, who is also an Olympic Ambassador. “The students will have a chance to talk to me and the other athletes and I hope our stories can help inspire them to succeed.”New Zealand Olympic Committee Barry Maister says the Commonwealth Games are a unique and exciting event. “The arrival of the Queen’s Baton heralds the start of the Commonwealth Games campaign in New Zealand. Athlete selections are set to get underway and our team will be finalised in August, two months ahead of the October games, he said. “The Commonwealth Games will provide some exciting and tough competition for New Zealand athletes.” The Queen’s Baton, which carries a message from Queen Elizabeth II to the athletes of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, will travel a total of 190,000 around 70 commonwealth countries. The New Zealand legs of the relay take place on days 201 and 202 of the baton’s journey around the world. The relay will end on October 3rd in New Delhi at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.The launch of the NZOC’s Delhi team campaign will coincide with the Queen’s Baton Relay and an announcement will be made at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate on Monday morning. The schools taking part in the relay all participate in Sir John Walker’s Find Your Field of Dreams (FYFOD) schools which promotes activity in young people from Manukau City. The NZOC an official programme partner as part of its work to inspire young people to excel through sport.Danyon Loader has won three bronze medals and one gold medal at Commonwealth Games in addition to his two Olympic gold and one silver medal. -       ends  - Notes to editor: Media opportunities will be available as follows: May 17th 20100930h                    Queen’s Baton arrives at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate1000h                    Delhi 2010 Campaign launched by NZOC, celebrations and Baton Relay begins.(Dignitaries and Commonwealth Games athletes including Daniel Bell, Sam Webster, Hayley Palmer present).Cultural performances, interview opportunities, relay begins1100 – 1600         Baton relay takes place at FYFOD schools1800 – 1900         Baton and Campaign launch celebration at Sky City May 18th 20101030 – 1600         Queen’s Baton relay continues in Auckland.1800                    Queen’s Baton departs New Zealand The Queen’s Baton left Buckingham Palace on October 20 2009 and will travel 190,000km through 70 Commonwealth countries before arriving in Delhi, India on 3 October 2010for the Opening of the Delhi Commonwealth Games. About the New Zealand Olympic CommitteeThe New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) is an independent organisation responsible for providing inspirational experiences for athletes at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Youth Games.The NZOC actively promotes the history and values of the Olympic Movement through a wide variety of cultural and educational programmes, and operates according to the Olympic Charter and Commonwealth Games Constitution.The NZOC is funded principally through corporate sponsorship, trusts, Sport & Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) and the International Olympic Committee.To find out more about the NZOC please visit www.olympic.org.nz For more information please contact:Ashley AbbottCommunications ManagerPh: +64 9 3750040 extn 3Mb: +64 21 552021]www.olympic.org.nz