PRIVILEGE: Baton bearer Grant Cassidy during the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay through Rockhampton.
PRIVILEGE: Baton bearer Grant Cassidy during the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay through Rockhampton. Chris Ison ROK230318cbaton11

Once in a lifetime: Queen's Baton brings Rocky together

THE clouds parted and the rain came to a halt yesterday, just in time for Kenrick Tucker to carry the Queen's baton from his namesake velodrome.

Crowds lined the streets of Rockhampton and cheered as the baton bearers jogged along the route with the baton held high.

 

Taking the baton from High Street down Musgrave St was managing director of Cassidy Hospitality group, Grant Cassidy, who was still "on cloud nine" last night.

"It was such a thrill to be nominated for the work I love doing for our community," Mr Cassidy said after the relay.

"We were all super excited and there was lots of nervous energy in the bus and it was a great experience.

"All of a sudden you were jumping off the bus on your position and the previous baton runner came up with the baton and off you went.

"It was one of those great opportunities in life and it was such a privilege and honour to be part of the Queen's Baton Relay."

The event itself brought people of all walks of life together, and the mateship was felt strongly by all those involved.

"As we dropped off each runner, everyone gave them a high-five. It was super encouraging," he said.

"There was a real level of excitement and the Baton Relay team was just sensational. They made the experience an absolute first-class opportunity and they really encouraged everyone to enjoy the moment.

"To see the baton cross the Fitzroy River, again demonstrates what an amazing feature we have in this city. Then to run up Quay St through all the beautiful heritage listed buildings, then onto Victoria Parade through the sporting precincts to the showgrounds, we've just got so much to offer. And every opportunity we get to showcase it, we need to make the most of it."

Police convoys and Relay buses escorted each baton bearer throughout the streets as the artfully designed baton was passed from one Rockhampton legend to the next.

Many spectators even propped up a camping chair beside the road to watch the event and glimpse of the baton that had visited 70 nations and would make its journey to its final destination: the Commonwealth Games on April 4.

The route itself was strategically mapped out by the council's planning committee and in particular by Cr Neil Fisher who spoke to media prior to the relay.

"When you have such a group of people that come together focused on making this event so successful and I had the honour of being part of that group," Cr Fisher said.

"My role was looking at how we could actually take this relay past a number of sites where many of our past heroes and champions from the Commonwealth Games trained or were introduced to the sport that they become world renowned for."

The velodrome kick off was a strategic starting line, due to the heritage of Rockhampton's cycling champions, Kenrick Tucker, Anna Meares and Kerrie Meares, who trained there.

The North Rockhampton swimming pool was also implemented in the route, a place where international champion, Glen Housman, "first splashed the water".

"We [passed] the Fitzroy river where so many in the water sports have come to their championship," Cr Fisher said.

"We [went] past the South Rockhampton swimming pool where Duncan Armstrong became well known and a national champion.

"[It wasn't] just picking roads on map, a lot of effort went into telling stories about past achievers and then hopefully in the process inspire the next round.

"One thing this region is blessed with is a whole rang of up and coming Commonwealth Game stars in just about every discipline you can think of."

Cr Fisher said the baton's journey across the Fitzroy River in a dragon boat was "probably one of the highlights across Australia".

"What is says about Rocky as the river city... to have that connection from one side of river to another.

"It was the most challenging part of organising for the relay but I must give credit where it's due, as it [was] able to come up."



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