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President Kenyatta receives Queens Baton, lauds sports

13 January 2014, 08:41

Mombasa - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday received the Queens Baton for the 2014 Commonwealth Games which touched down in Nairobi on its continuing tour of Africa.

The baton was conveyed to Kenyatta by a Commonwealth Games Federation representative, Sharad Rao, after receiving it from Kenyan marathoner Catherine Ndereba and 1954 Commonwealth Games participant Nyandika Maiyoro.

Speaking when he hosted the Glasgow 2014 Queen' s baton relay team in Mombasa, Kenyatta described the baton as a symbol of the shared values of a common bond of friendship and experiences within the Commonwealth states.

"It is this bond of friendship which, today, gives us the platform to compete as brothers and sisters from a shared heritage," he said.

Kenyatta said sports plays an important role in creating economic opportunities and promoting world peace.

He said Kenya is a major participant in key international sports activities, including the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, to be part of the global peace initiatives.

"The Government of Kenya believes in the power of Games to unite the Commonwealth fraternity and through them, promote the unity and understanding of the people of the whole world," he said.

He said there was need for sports managers to prepare a strong team to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games.

The Commonwealth Games equivalent of the Olympic torch started its African leg when it arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone on December 30, 2013.

Kenya, the President added, has been a proud member of the Commonwealth Games in the rich history that dates back to 1954 Vancouver Games.

He thanked senior athletes who have put Kenya on the map over the years. He singled out Nyandika Maiyoro, the bare feet athlete who took part in the 1954 Vancouver games in Canada.

"I'm happy that Maiyoro is here today and participated in bringing the baton to the podium," he said. He expressed the government's support for sports and urged respective federations to do their best in making sports successful.

The baton which began its journey on October 9 last year at Buckingham Palace, London, will travel to 70 nations and territories across the world in seven months before arriving in Scotland ahead of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow on July 23.

On Monday, the baton will be taken to the Karura Forest where children from several schools including children with disability will be given the opportunity to view the baton and run with it during its journey in the forest.

British High Commissioner Christian Turner lauded the strong ties existing between Britain and Kenya pointing out that the two countries have a special relationship which is exhibited in sports among other things.

He welcomed the Kenyan team to Glasgow, saying they would be backed by the huge Kenyan Diaspora in Britain.

The British envoy stressed on the spirit of Commonwealth among the member states, saying Kenya is a major sporting country and sportsmen and women have won many events in the world.

Last year, he said close to 90 percent of the marathons in the world were won by Kenyans. "In sports there are winners and losers but at the end of it we shake hands congratulating one another," he added

Cabinet Secretary of Sports Hassan Wario said the baton reminds Kenya of its humble sports beginning and look back at the achievements we have made.

- Xinhua


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