After starting at Buckingham Palace in London last week, the Queen's Baton Relay took its first steps in Cyprus ©Getty Images

Cypriot teenage Olympian swimmer Nikolas Antoniou was among the first to carry the Baton as it began its 294-day journey - known as the Queen's Baton Relay (QBR) - across the Commonwealth in Cyprus.

Seventeen-year-old Antoniou, who competed in the 50 metres and 100m freestyle in Tokyo, took the Baton at Petra tou Romiou - Stone of Rome - rock formation on the west coast of the island at Paphos. 

The area is also known as the mythical birthplace of the Goddess Aphrodite.

Double world champion and Para sprinter Antonis Ariste also joined 1992 Olympian swimmer Charalambos Panagidis, a breaststroker who swam for Cyprus at both the 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games, to carry the Baton.

It had earlier touched down at Larnaca airport, where it had been met by Stavros Michailidis, of the Cyprus Commonwealth Games Association - himself a swimmer at the 1990, 1994 and 2002 Games - and Cyprus Sports Organisation vice president Costa Koukkoullis.

British High Commissioner Stephen Lillie and Cyprus Olympic Committee President George Chrysostomou joined athletes who carried the Baton during its two-day stay.

"The beginning of the journey in Cyprus is a special honour for all of us," deputy British high commissioner to Cyprus Ben Rawlings said on social media.

"Delighted to participate. 

"It has left its mark on me."

Cyprus Commonwealth Games Committee Secretary Andreas Georgiou said: "There is no doubt that the Birmingham Games will be a great sporting event.

"Cyprus will participate in many sports, and we hope to win even more medals.

"I wish the QBR message reaches all countries and is the starting point for a better world."

There had been anger on social media that the Relay did not visit North Cyprus, which has been under Turkish rule since 1974. 

Critics described it as "blatant discrimination."

The Relay visited the medieval castle in Paphos, before travelling on to Limassol and was taken to the ancient theatre of Kourion, a significant archaeological site.

It also appeared at the medieval castle in the city.

It began its second day at Eleftherias Square in Nicosia, before heading to Larnaca and was also displayed at the popular holiday and clubbing resort Ayia Napa.

Cyprus was the first of the 72 Commonwealth nations and territories to see the Baton on a journey that will ultimately see it return to Birmingham for the Games. 

It is next scheduled to visit Malta.