Iwan Thomas Among Southampton Queen's Baton Bearers

16 April 2014, 10:02

With just under 100 days to go until the XX Commonwealth Games begins in Glasgow, Southampton City Council has announced the six Batonbearers selected to carry the Queen's Baton when it arrives in Southampton.

The Queen's Baton Relay will tour Southampton on 4 June, visiting local landmarks and acting as the centrepiece for events happening to celebrate the countdown to Glasgow 2014.

The six Batonbearers have been selected by the city's sports partners including Active Nation and Southampton Solent University in recognition of their contribution to sport and the community. They are:

Iwan Thomas, 40, ex-athlete, lives in Southampton
Chris Grainger, 64, netball Coach from Southampton
James Saunders, 45, volunteer lives in West End
Richard Cartwright,28, volunteer, lives in Southampton
Nick Chmarny, 55, rowing coach, lives in Eastleigh
Annie Clewlow,57, diving coach, lives in Southampton

Dame Kelly Holmes, President of Commonwealth Games England, said:

"Our England Batonbearers are going to play a crucial part when the Queen's Baton Relay arrives in England on May 31st.

"They have all been selected due to their passion for sport and the way in which they share this with their communities and look to get people involved and active.

"I'm encouraging everyone in Southampton to get involved when the Queen's Baton Relay comes to your city - find out what event is taking place and if you can be there then please go and cheer on your batonbearers and be part of the Team England send-off to Glasgow!"

The Queen's Batonbearers will carry the baton to a variety of events and activities to introduce the public to new sports, organised by Southampton City Council and its partners Cunard, Active Nation and Southampton Solent University.

Southampton is famous around the world for its historical and continuing links with the sea. This will be highlighted in style when the Queen's Baton boards the famous Queen Elizabeth ship early in the morning.

From the docks, the Queen's Baton will make an appearance at Southampton Guildhall to coincide with the annual Mayor Making ceremony.

The Queen's Baton will later take pride of place at Southampton Sports Centre where a special sporting event called TRYathlon is being organised and provides up to 600 schoolchildren with an opportunity to try a variety of activities including many sports which will feature in the Commonwealth Games.

The culmination of the day's activities will take place in the early evening in Guildhall Square where a temporary diving pool and 25m high diving board will be installed ready for a spectacular high diving display by La Quebrada along with an opportunity to find out how to get involved in sports in the city.

The baton will have visited 63 of 70 Commonwealth nations and territories when it arrives in the British Isles on Sunday 10 May. Landing in Jersey, the baton then journeys through Guernsey, Isle of Man, embarks on a four-day tour of Northern Ireland and then spends a week in Wales. It will arrive in England on 31 May to begin the penultimate leg of the Queen's Baton Relay in Manchester, visiting 16 different locations en route to its final destination through Scotland and the start of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The XX Commonwealth Games takes place in Glasgow from 23 July to 3 August. Commonwealth Games England is sending a 400-strong team to compete across the 17 sports.

Iwan Thomas
Iwan Thomas had an illustrious career as a 400m runner. He competed at the Olympics representing GB and is the current 400m Commonwealth Games record holder. He's a long term resident of Southampton and contributes to numerous charities. Since retiring as an athlete, Iwan has carved out a career as a TV presenter and appears frequently on TV shows most notably the One Show on BBC1 as well as other sports programmes.

Chris Grainger
Chris has coached junior and senior netball teams in Southampton since 1976! She started Saucony ladies team just under 40 years ago and they now have 7 senior and 5 junior teams which make them the biggest clubs in the region. Chris provides well over 500 volunteer hours per week to promote netball in Southampton and surrounding areas for youth and adults. Chris delivers many coaching sessions in the community but also administers the netball leagues and competitions too. Amongst many awards of recognition, Chris received a national award from England Netball for long service to the game in 2013.

James Saunders
James' dedication and enthusiasm has been fundamental to the development of the parkrun initiative within Southampton both from an adult and junior perspective. The adult event started in July 2012 and has seen weekly participation grow from 240 to over 550, supported by over 30 volunteers, making it one of the UK's highest attended running events each week. The junior parkrun event started in November 2013 and is currently one of only seven held in the UK. Participation has already reached upwards of 90. James continues to develop new partnerships in the city in order to expand the parkrun programme.

Richard Cartwright
Richard has been instrumental in the development of the 'Team Solent Sharks' Wheelchair Rugby Club in Southampton. Benefiting from the 2012 legacy, Richard pulled together community partners, and gained the support of Solent University to create the club. Within the first year he secured funding for new chairs, and established the support staff required. Since its launch a year ago, the club now boasts two teams, 22 members and train at Solent University's St Mary's Leisure Centre. The club is currently attracting a wide range of disabled athletes, genders and ages.

Nick Chmarny
Nick has worked tirelessly over the last 30 years to develop rowing in Southampton. Nick is a long standing member of Coalporters ARC and has served them in a number of voluntary roles over the years. He has been instrumental in developing rowers of all ages, as well as the development of facilities and opportunities for the sport in Southampton. He is a keen rower himself and for the last 10 years has coached many 'Coalies' crews to national success, as well as recently being involved Solent University Rowing Club where he has taken many crews to major University Regattas.

Annie Clewlow
Annie has worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the last 14 years to ensure Southampton has a world class diving programme which has produced several participants who have completed at elite level. Annie has co-ordinated a diving programme to ensure every child in Southampton experiences a free diving session. Annie was also instrumental in creating the only disability programme in the world, here in Southampton called Diveability. Annie has been a team manager for Great Britain and taken junior & senior teams all over the world to compete. Annie continues to work with schools to find the next Peter Waterfield.

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