St Helena Online

Tag: Commonwealth Games

Shooter Maddy tastes TV fame in baton relay programme

Maddy sets her sights on Scotland - as seen on the BBC iPlayer
Maddy sets her sights on Scotland – as seen on the BBC iPlayer

Commonwealth Games hopeful Madolyn Andrews features in a three-minute profile of St Helena on a BBC television programme following the Queen’s Baton Relay.

Maddy is seen training to take part in the shooting at the 2014 Games in Scotland.

If she succeeds in her ambition to compete, it’ll be only the second time she’s left the island – and the first time venturing beyond Ascension.

“If I go out in the bigger world to the Commonwealth Games I’ll be able to see what they do and how they do it,” she tells presenter Mark Beaumont.

Patrick Henry: "We'll be ready"
Patrick Henry: “We’ll be ready”

Her coach, Patrick Henry, says it is difficult preparing competitors for overseas competition in such isolation, but says he thinks his team “will be ready”.

The programme is available to UK viewers on the BBC iPlayer. It is scheduled to be shown on the BBC News Channel in the UK on Saturday at 1.30pm.

The Falkland Islands are featured as the “next destination” in the baton’s tour of the Commonwealth – ignoring the fact that it had to be carried ashore at Ascension Island to be transferred to the RAF flight to Stanley.

Ascension is not acknowledged as a stop-over on the baton website.

Mark Beaumont’s blog on the baton’s journey includes a post about the RMS St Helena, with photographs showing parts of the ship not normally seen by passengers. Read it here

And an unnamed Pilling School pupil is captured in a striking photograph on the BBC’s baton website, here

Games baton approaches: no need to get sniffy, Jonathan


It’s too bad that Jonathan the tortoise no longer has much of a sense of smell. The Commonwealth Games baton is to arrive on St Helena on 19 February 2014, and it might well carry, to the well-tuned nose, the faint whiff of a giant tortoise.

Which would doubtless make an interesting change from the aroma of the other giant tortoises that share a paddock at Plantation House with Jonathan, the oldest known living creature on the planet.

It has been the custom, in past years, for the baton to be presented for Jonathan’s approval. The Games wouldn’t be the same without it.

Jonathan, pictured by Guy Gatien
Jonathan, pictured by Guy Gatien

But this time, some other tortoises got there first – and in the Seychelles, of all places, which happens to be where Jonathan comes from.

The diplomatic slight is revealed in a press release marking the half-way mark in the baton’s journey through 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, en route to Glasgow.

“Tt’s been taken diving in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, paraded by elephants in Sri Lanka and sniffed by giant tortoises in the Seychelles,” says the release.

It’s also been carried to the top of the tallest building in Oceania, and honoured with a national holiday in the island nation of Nauru.

  • Animals met along the way include Koalas in Australia, and tigers in Kenya.
  • It has travelled in a 19th Century steam train in Sri Lanka, motorised tricycles in Australia, and an outrigger canoe in Kiribati.
Jonathan with a past Games baton
Jonathan with a past Games baton

“The baton has visited some of the most remote regions in the world,” say the relay organisers, “including Kavieng, in Papua New Guinea, Tarawa Island in Kiribati, and the island nation of Niue, which is only connected by one weekly flight.

“Highlights of the international journey of the baton include a historic first visit to Rwanda, the youngest member of the Commonwealth, and – still to come – the last-ever baton sail to St Helena, in the South Atlantic, as the Royal Mail Ship will soon be replaced by an air link to the island.”

The baton will be on the island from 19 to 21 February, during which time it will be carried up Jacob’s Ladder. Its full schedule is still being finalised, according to the St Helena Tourism newsletter.

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Visit the Commonwealth Games website here