Situated on the north-eastern coast of Central America, Belize was the 58th destination of the Queen’s Baton Relay on its epic journey through the Commonwealth.
Criss-crossing the entire country, the baton took in the old capital of Belize City, Punta Gorda and Dangriga in the south, and the new capital of Belmopan. It travelled under hot skies on roads and highways, along dusty streets in small towns, and past flowering red flamboyant and yellow golden shower trees to be proudly welcomed by local communities.
One of the many highlights of the baton’s time in Belize was when cyclist Orson Butler led a parade of Belizean cyclists to Memorial Park. Here, three trees were planted to celebrate the relay’s third visit to Belize, and the 88th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen.
The local children even took time out from play during their Easter holidays to get involved with the relay. In flip-flops, running shoes, socks and bare feet, the children ran along with enthusiasm. At the culminating receptions they sat under awnings, sheltering from the searing heat, drinking their bags of water and listening to the speeches.
Sir Coleville Young, Governor General of Belize for 20 years, told a funny sports-related joke and spoke eloquently. At the Youth Hostel in Hattieville, Aloveen Mariano recited her self-penned poem entitled ‘Respect’. In Belize City, Mayor Darrell Bradley gave an inspirational speech about the baton, his country and the spirit of the Commonwealth.
Belize is a small country, and is yet to medal at the Commonwealth Games. However, it will be competing in five sports at Glasgow 2014 this summer, and if its enthusiasm for the Queen’s Baton Relay is anything to go by, the athletes could soon be returning with Belize’s first ever Commonwealth medal!
Check out the latest images from the baton’s journey through the Commonwealth.