Portsmouth to take centre stage as Queen's Baton Relay will pass through city in honour of the Commonwealth Games - prompting free fitness event on Southsea Common

COMMUNITIES across the city are encouraged to take part in an historic celebration of sport and fitness while Portsmouth takes centre stage as one of the hosts of the Queen’s Baton Relay this summer.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 5:00 am

The international relay promoting the Birmingham Commonwealth Games is set to pass by some of the city's famous landmarks after arriving by hovercraft on July 6.

Since setting off in October last year the baton has already travelled across multiple countries around the globe including Pakistan, Malaysia and Australia, and will be journeying to Canada at the end of May.

To mark its landing in Portsmouth, where it will be carried by baton-bearers around Southsea Common, the Historic Dockyards and the city centre, a free Get Active event will be held on the common providing a range of free sports to try.

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Queen Elizabeth II passes her baton to the baton bearer, British parasport athlete Kadeena Cox, during the launch of the Queen's Baton Relay for Birmingham 2022, the XXII Commonwealth Games at Buckingham Palace on October 7, 2021 in London, England. The Queen and The Earl of Wessex are Patron and Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation respectively. (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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City council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘We want to use this occasion to celebrate all the opportunities Portsmouth residents have to play sport and get active.

‘Every week thousands of people in the city take part in a huge range of activities and by highlighting them at this event we hope to get even more people involved.

‘We want to have a healthier city and I'd encourage anyone with a team, club or group that would like new members to get involved.’

Crowds on Southsea Common in 2012 when the Olympic Torch passed through the city. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Tony Brown, chairman and coach at Court Lane Judo Club in Cosham, added: ‘It's great Portsmouth has been included in the Queen's Baton Relay but even better it's being used to highlight grassroots sports in the city.

‘Judo is one of the core sports for the Commonwealth Games but possibly least known by the average person and this is a great opportunity to raise the profile of the sport.

‘Portsmouth has a huge range of sport clubs for all ages and fitness but people don't always know where to find them. This is a great way to show everyone what we offer and hopefully attract more people to join us and get active.’

The Queen's Baton in St Helena

The last time a similar event took place in Portsmouth was in 2012, when 65,000 spectators flocked to the common to see the Olympic Torch pass through, and pop duo Rizzle Kicks performed.

The Get Active event will run from 5pm to 7pm on July 6.

Any groups interested should email [email protected]

Crowds on Southsea Common in 2012 when the Olympic Torch passed through the city. Picture: Malcolm Wells (122387-5804)
The Queen's Baton in Australia
Crowds on Southsea Common in 2012 when the Olympic Torch passed through the city. Picture: Malcolm Wells (122387-5804)
The Queen's Baton in Uganda