Canoe Ride for Baton
Despite perfect conditions at the Avatele landing today, there were still a few nervous officials from Australia accompanying the Queen’s Baton when their charge took to the high seas on a traditional blue water Niue vaka. Avatele youth leaders Danny Makaia and Lilly Laufoli briefly took charge of the baton for a quick paddle. Holding the baton was young Petesa Laufoli.
The Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Australia in April next year is doing the rounds on the island. This morning the baton arrived at Avatele where it received the usual attention from those who were able to be present.
After a blessing from the resident village clergy Rev Petesa Sionetuato and a few words from Mrs Losa Talagi, the wife of the village Assemblyman, it was time for the mandatory photographs before the Baton made its way down to the landing.
According to the President of Niue Island Sports and Commonwealth Games Association Mr Maru Talagi, the island will be competing in five codes at the Games – boxing, lawn bowls, shooting, athletics and weight-lifting. While the bulk of the funding to get the team to the Gold Coast usually comes for the Commonwealth Games, the government in the past has also been known to provide some assistance. Whether it will do so this time remains to be seen.
Maru Talagi was non-committal when asked about the chances of Niue’s small team returning with a medal. “We have yet to bring back a medal from the Games but one day it will happen”, he said, “but it won’t happen if we don’t keep on trying”.
The Baton leaves the island on Friday.