Games baton snub



THE closest Central Queensland will get to the Commonwealth Games baton is about 35,000 feet.

A Qantas flight will carry the baton from Kingaroy next Thursday to Proserpine during its marathon relay journey to the opening ceremony.

Yesterday, Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten de- scribed the snubbing of CQ as "a spit in the eye''.

"Weight for age, we've produced as many international sporting champions as any other part of Australia,'' he said.

"I think it shows a lack of understanding from the people who organise (the relay).''

The baton, carrying the Queen's message to the athletes, will spend seven days journeying up Queensland's coastline and across to Mount Isa.

Rockhampton's Ryan Knowles, father of Olympic hockey gold medallist Mark, said he would have jumped at the chance to be part of the relay.

Mr Knowles ran a leg of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Torch Relay in Rockhampton.

The torch he carried is mounted in his family room.

"It (relay) brought the whole community together, not just the sporting fraternity.

"We (Rockhampton and Gracemere) have got three gold medallists from the last Olympics competing at the Melbourne Games and even with that success we couldn't attract it (relay) here.''

The baton will touch down at Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and Airlie Beach on February 3.

The relay starts in Australia today with cricketer Steve Waugh and shooter Michael Diamond among the runners.



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