By Samuel Adetola.
It was an historic moment in Lagos on Monday as the much awaited Gold Coast 2018 Queen Baton relay was held at the National Stadium in Lagos with several personalities in sports and thousands of citizens of the state on hand to witness the event.
The Queen’s baton relay has been the traditional curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games since the 1958 edition in Cardiff, Wales when it was first introduced as part of the Commonwealth games.
Although the Baton carried a message from the Her Majesty the Queen, through all nations and territories as a call to the Commonwealth to come together in a friendly competition, the event of
Monday turned out to be a clarion call on all Nigerians to be more united that before and excel in all sphere of life.
The programme, led by the Minister for Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalong who stood in for President Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Habu Ahmed Gumel and the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Lehmann, at different time during the event at the stadium delivered goodwill messages encouraged youths embrace peace and shun discrimination against fellow Nigerians that are physically challenged.
The major highlight of the programme was cultural and choreography display from children with disabilities from the famous Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially sighted children, Heart of Gold Children Home and other notable institutions running the Non Governmental project in Lagos State.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday said adequate preparation remained the only panacea for Nigerian athletes to perform exceptionally well at the Games assuring that every effort would be geared towards giving them necessary facilities to prepare.
Speaking at Lagos House in Ikeja after receiving the Queen’s Baton, Governor Ambode assured that the State Government would revamp all the sporting facilities in the State and make them available for use by athletes representing Nigeria at the Games.
The Governor, who was particularly happy to receive the baton at Lagos House, congratulated the people of Australia for being the proud host of the Commonwealth Games, adding that the development was a wake-up call to Nigerians.
“I like to assure that we will use this particular event to jump-start and reactivate the training of all our athletes that will be going to the Commonwealth Games next year. While I like to charge our athletes, I also like to appeal to the different agencies and authorities that we should ensure that we provide adequate facilities and equipment for all our athletes.
“Like you are already aware, this Commonwealth Games will be hosted in the beautiful city of Gold Coast, Queens Land in Australia and so we believe strongly that proper preparation is the only way that can get Nigeria to win the gold and that is why our government is seriously committed to uplifting all the sporting facilities in the State so that we can use it as a platform to encourage our athletes and also improve on sports development.