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Nikolas Antouniou, Swimmer

▲ Image: Nicolas Antoniou, Swimmer

The Queen’s Baton Hopped, Skipped and Jet Skied Around Cyprus

The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay is officially underway, with the journey across all 72 Commonwealth nations and territories beginning in Cyprus.

Starting the Baton’s journey in style, from jet-skiing to cycling to swimming, the Cypriot Batonbearers transported the Queen’s Message across Cyprus’ most iconic sites.

The Queen’s Baton touched down at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus on Friday 8 October. There to welcome its arrival was Costa Koukkoullis, Vice President of the Cyprus Sports Organisation and Stavros Michailidis of the Cyprus Commonwealth Games Association.

Seventeen-year-old swimmer Nikolas Antoniou had the exciting role as Cyprus’ first Batonbearer and took the Baton to Petra tou Romiou, which is commonly known as the birthplace of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek Goddess of love and beauty.

The next stop was to Paphos Castle, which stands proudly at the west end of the town’s harbour. Ben Rawlings, Deputy British High Commissioner to Cyprus was there to meet the Baton.

After being admired by excited onlookers, the Baton then journeyed with 100m hurdler Milan Trajkovic to the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, an ancient monument dedicated to the God of Apollo, who was considered to be the protector of Kourion in Limassol.

Kyriakos Ioannou, a retired World Champion Cypriot High Jumper, carried the Baton at Kourion Ancient Amphitheatre.

To conclude the day, a reception was held in Limassol where Mayor Nicos Nicolaides expressed his pride for Cyprus being the first stop of the Queen’s Baton Relay.

Day two of the Queen’s Baton Relay began in Dereboyu Avenue, the modern heart of the northern part of Nicosia, where George Chrysostomou, President of the Cyprus Olympic Committee, and gymnast Diamanto Evripidou received the Baton.

Following this welcoming, road cyclist Antri Christoforou cycled with the Baton around the streets of North Nicosia.

▲ Image: Antri Christoforou, Road Cyclist

Continuing along the coast, the Queen’s Baton Relay made its way to Larnaca Beach, stopping at The Church of Saint Lazarus, then to Nissi Beach, Konnos Bay and Fig Tree Bay. The beaches were alive with sporting spirit, as locals played beach volleyball and swam in the sea.

The Baton then took to the water on a jet ski with swimmers Maria Papadopolou and Jack Hadjiconstantinou before plunging to explore the underwater forest consisting of over 93 artworks.

▲ Image: Maria Papadopolou, Swimmer

The two-day visit concluded with a reception at British High Commission to Cyprus, Stephen Lillie who spoke of his excitement for Birmingham 2022 being the most sustainable Commonwealth Games.

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