The Welsh leg of the Queen's Baton Relay is officially underway after it touched down at Cardiff Wales Airport today to begin its seven-day journey across Wales.
The Baton arrived following its tour through Northern Ireland and was greeted in Cardiff by Welsh hockey legend and current President of the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales (CGCW), Anne Ellis.
Ellis, who represented Wales in a record 138 consecutive appearances and is a member of the Executive Board of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), was joined by CGCW chief executive Chris Jenkins, CGCW chairman Helen Phillips and Welsh Minister for Culture and Sport John Griffiths as the Baton begins its final tour around mainland Britain with 60 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of Glasgow 2014 on July 23 at Celtic Park.
"We're delighted to welcome the Queen's Baton Relay back to Wales," said Ellis.
"We look forward to putting on a spectacle for it every four years and with it spending longer than ever before with us this time there is certainly plenty in store for it.
"With the first ever Baton Relay being hosted here in Wales in 1958 it is a tradition that inevitably holds a place in our hearts.
"The momentum has been building over the last few months and the wave of support we're set to witness from the Welsh public over the next week, for the Baton and for Team Wales athletes about to represent us on the world stage in just two months time, will be truly inspirational."
After touching down in the Welsh capital, the Baton made its way to Six Bells in Blaenau Gwent for a scaled down version of their annual Pit Party, where the baton was met by seven of the 177 Baton bearers that will carry it through the country over the next week.
It then made its way to the Guardian of the Valleys sculpture - erected in 2010 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Bells mining disaster which claimed 45 lives - where it was carried by Joseph Price and Jim Watkins, survivors of the disaster.
From there the Relay moved on to Ebbw Vale and Tredegar before visiting the hometown of former Commonwealth Games gold medallist and world champion boxer Howard Winstone, where it took part in a parade alongside the first ever Queen's Baton from the 1958 Games in Cardiff.
The Baton will pass through 11 local authorities and cover some 731 miles during its journey through Wales and some of the 177 Baton bearers include Olympic and world champion sprinter Iwan Thomas, television presenter Alex Jones and tenor Wynne Evans.
It will also visit some of the nation's most famous landmarks, including Dylan Thomas' boathouse in Laugharne, the summit of Snowdon and the coastal scenery of St David's Peninsula.
Tomorrow the Baton is due to make its way to Rhondda Cynon Taff where it will be met by European champion and Commonwealth bronze medal-winning hurdler Rhys Williams before heading to Aberdare Park and then onto Llandrindod Wells to be greeted by three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, runner Kirsty Wade.
For more information on the Welsh leg of the Queen's Baton Relay click here.
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