The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has confirmed the inspirational people from communities across Yorkshire and the Humber who will take on the role of Batonbearer in the Queen’s Baton Relay this summer.
Bradford’s Harleen Kaur a martial artist and kickboxing champion has been selected as a Batonbearer from the Yorkshire and Humber region in recognition of her work within sports that brings South Asian women and women from other backgrounds to the forefront of sporting activity and athletics.
As a young girl, Harleen’s passion for sport shone brightly and she went on to successfully compete in kickboxing and also coach at a high level, helping those who have faced barriers in accessing sport.
As a competitor, Harleen won British kickboxing gold in 2015, followed by silver in the World Martial Kombat Championships. She was the first British Asian female to represent England kickboxing in the world championships.
Harleen is also a keen volunteer, dedicating every summer to visits to Punjab in North India, supporting a sports charity, teaching life skills, English and self-defence. Driven by her passion to give back to communities, she also works as an ambassador for Sporting Equals and the Asian Sports Foundation who promote diversity within sport.
The Queen’s Baton will spend two days in the Yorkshire and Humber region on 12 – 13 July. The successful Batonbearers have been specially selected to represent Yorkshire and the Humber and carry the Baton through local communities.
On its tour of Commonwealth nations and territories, the Queen’s Baton will arrive back in England on 2 June 2022 for a four-day visit to London, coinciding with The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend, before resuming the international journey. It later returns to England on 4 July to commence a 25-day tour across all remaining regions. The Relay will culminate at the Alexander Stadium on 28 July for the Opening Ceremony, where the Queen’s Message will be read aloud, signifying the official start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The confirmation of Batonbearers comes following the public nomination campaign in January 2022, from which approximately 8,000 nominations were submitted.
Batonbearers will play an integral role in the Queen’s Baton Relay when it returns to England this summer, taking on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Queen’s Baton in their region and building excitement for the highly-anticipated Commonwealth Games. They will join over 7,500 Batonbearers that have already passed the Baton between communities on the international journey.
As a tradition of the Commonwealth Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay builds anticipation for the Games ahead by celebrating, connecting, and exciting communities across the Commonwealth and highlighting untold stories and unsung local heroes from the places it visits. Since October, the Baton has been travelling across the entire Commonwealth, with visits to Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas, where over 7,500 Batonbearers have passed the Baton between communities.
Batonbearers for the Queen’s Baton Relay journey through Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will be chosen based on criteria set by the Commonwealth Games Associations in the respective country.
Lisa Hampton, Head of the Queen’s Baton Relay, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay aims to excite and celebrate communities not only around the Commonwealth, but here in the host country of England. This journey would be nothing without the community of Batonbearers that bring the Relay to life. We’ve seen it internationally, and we can’t wait to see it in England.
“Our journey through England is an important one. Not only is it the finale to an epic international journey spanning eight months, but it’s an opportunity to engage with and celebrate individuals who work hard to ensure their community is a special place. We want to showcase these awe-inspiring stories; celebrating the diversity of England’s communities and the people working hard to make a difference.”
Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin DBE said: “I would like to congratulate all the inspirational individuals who have been selected to carry the Queen’s Baton Relay across the Host Country.
“The last leg of the Baton’s long journey across the 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth will be such a special moment for everyone involved with the Games. It will provide a final opportunity for the whole country to engage with Birmingham 2022 ahead of the Opening Ceremony on 28 July, where the Queen’s Message will be read aloud and the Commonwealth Games will begin.”
Commonwealth Games Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “This June the Queen’s Baton Relay comes home. Arriving in London for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the Baton will travel from coast to coast bringing people together and championing 2,022 specially nominated community heroes.
“The relay has connected 72 nations and territories and serves as a symbol of the values of peace and friendship that the Commonwealth Sport family has always upheld.”
Harleen Kaur, Batonbearer said: “It is such an honour to have been selected as a Batonbearer and to represent Yorkshire in the Queen’s Baton Relay. It feels so special to be
recognised in this way for supporting the women in my area and the work I’ve done in India supporting the local communities there.”
The Baton is currently visiting the Cayman Islands, which is the Baton’s 50th destination out of 72. In the last 30 days, the Baton has visited Australia, Belize, Guyana, Grenada, The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.
For more information on the Queen’s Baton Relay, visit www.birmingham2022.com/qbr.