Peiris the Lankan hope in swimming

Women around the Commonwealth celebrated as Birmingham 2022 Queen Baton Relay recognises International Women Day

Strong women have played a major role in the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay since the day we launched. 

Her Majesty The Queen, who is seen as one of the most inspiring and respected female figures across the world, notably being the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee and as Head of the Commonwealth, is at the heart and soul of the Relay. 

The Queen plays a significant role in inspiring thousands of athletes around the world to join together at the Games this summer.

Back in October, our very own hometown hero and trailblazer Haseebah Abdullah, England’s first hijab-wearing boxing coach, handed The Queen her message to place into the Baton, and the brilliant Kadeena Cox OBE, Para-sprinter and cyclist was our first Batonbearer, commencing the start of this epic journey with strong women at the forefront.

The Relay is now progressing through all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth before arriving at the Opening Ceremony for Birmingham 2022, which is the first ever multi-sport event in history to award more medals to women than men - what an incredible moment in history.

As Head of the Queen’s Baton Relay, I’ve had the enormous pleasure of hearing stories of so many remarkable women, who we have connected with along the route so far. So, on International Women’s Day, I’d like to introduce you to five amazing women who have taken on the role of Batonbearer.

Nancy Abouke is an 18-year-old weightlifter from Nauru, the smallest island nation in the world.  She is hoping to represent Nauru at Birmingham 2022 this summer, having recently competed in Tokyo 2020 which marked her first major international competition, from which she walked away in 10th place. 

What an extraordinary achievement! Nancy is breaking the bias and inspiring women across the Commonwealth and rest of the world, by competing in what used to be considered a male dominated sport- it was first introduced to the Commonwealth Games programme for men in 1950, but not until 2002 for women.

Strong women have played a major role in the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay since the day we launched. 

Her Majesty The Queen, who is seen as one of the most inspiring and respected female figures across the world, notably being the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee and as Head of the Commonwealth, is at the heart and soul of the Relay. 

The Queen plays a significant role in inspiring thousands of athletes around the world to join together at the Games this summer.

Back in October, our very own hometown hero and trailblazer Haseebah Abdullah, England’s first hijab-wearing boxing coach, handed The Queen her message to place into the Baton, and the brilliant Kadeena Cox OBE, Para-sprinter and cyclist was our first Batonbearer, commencing the start of this epic journey with strong women at the forefront.

The Relay is now progressing through all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth before arriving at the Opening Ceremony for Birmingham 2022, which is the first ever multi-sport event in history to award more medals to women than men - what an incredible moment in history.

As Head of the Queen’s Baton Relay, I’ve had the enormous pleasure of hearing stories of so many remarkable women, who we have connected with along the route so far. So, on International Women’s Day, I’d like to introduce you to five amazing women who have taken on the role of Batonbearer.

Nancy Abouke is an 18-year-old weightlifter from Nauru, the smallest island nation in the world.  She is hoping to represent Nauru at Birmingham 2022 this summer, having recently competed in Tokyo 2020 which marked her first major international competition, from which she walked away in 10th place. 

What an extraordinary achievement! Nancy is breaking the bias and inspiring women across the Commonwealth and rest of the world, by competing in what used to be considered a male dominated sport- it was first introduced to the Commonwealth Games programme for men in 1950, but not until 2002 for women.

When she isn’t summitting mountains, Jayanthi is a women’s rights advocate. Her advocacy is grounded in knowledge gained from years of studying, including earning a post graduate diploma in women's studies and a Master of Arts degree in gender studies.

Last but by no means least, I would like to introduce you to Faith Ogallo, a member of the Kenyan national taekwondo team. By competing in Tokyo 2020, Faith became the first Kenyan to compete in an Olympic taekwondo event in 13 years. 

As Faith’s career has flourished, she has been using her platform to champion sustainability. She spreads her message and passion for the environment by going into schools to educate children about the importance of preserving and protecting the planet.

Each of these remarkable women inspire me in different ways, whether they are pioneering in their field, championing women’s rights, promoting the preservation of our planet, or supporting the youth of the Commonwealth. 

I know we’ll continue to meet many more as our epic journey continues. I hope you are just as inspired by these women as I am and on International Women’s Day, we can celebrate the strength in women around the Commonwealth.

More information about the Queen's Baton Relay, as well as the progress of the Baton can be followed here

- InsideTheGames