Former Olympic gold medallist Giaan Rooney carries the Queen’s Baton in BrisbaneFormer n swimming stars have shown their wares on dry land by bringing the Queen’s Baton to Brisbane as part of its 388-day global trek to the Commonwealth Games.
Kieran Perkins, Susie O’Neill and Giaan Rooney were among the biggest names as the baton relay edged closer to the Gold Coast on Good Friday.
It completes its journey at the Games opening ceremony on Wednesday night where a message carried inside it from Queen Elizabeth II will be read aloud calling for 11 days of peaceful, friendly competition.
The baton has visited 70 of the 71 nations and territories participating in the 2018 Games – only missing The Gambia due to their late reintroduction – and will have travelled 230,000 kilometres when it arrives at Carrara Stadium.
Three-time Olympian Alicia Coutts and fellow Queenslander Rooney were among the baton bearers as the relay first arrived in Brisbane on Friday morning.
“I have cheek crampage from smiling so much. It’s such an honour to share this with so many community champions,” Rooney told the Seven Network.
Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey later meandered down the driveway of Government House with the baton before passing it to two-time 1500m Olympic champion Perkins in front an applauding onlookers.
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation chairman Peter Beattie thanked the “faceless people” who made it possible.
“This is day 383, this is the longest baton relay that has ever been done in the history of the Commonwealth Games,” Mr Beattie told reporters on Friday.
“I can’t tell you that I’m not anxious, of course we are, but five days to go. I think people have enjoyed it.”
O’Neill, nicknamed Madame Butterfly for her 1996 and 2000 Olympic successes, was to be the last to put her fingerprints on the baton at the Sherwood Arboretum.
It will remain in Queensland’s capital on Saturday, carried by fellow ex-swimmers Grant Hackett, Bronte Barratt and Christian Sprenger.
Retired pole vaulter Tatiana Grigorieva and boxing world champion Jeff Horn will also complete a leg of the journey before it arrives on the Gold Coast on Sunday.