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Queen's Baton gets Olympic touch as it journeys north

OLYMPIC gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent and former boxing world champion Barry McGuigan have taken their turn carrying the Queen's Baton as it makes it way to Scotland.

ON ITS WAY: The Queen's Baton was in London yesterday.
ON ITS WAY: The Queen's Baton was in London yesterday.

The baton, which contains a message from the Queen that will be read out at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on July 23 at Celtic Park, spent yesterday in London.

Pinsent, a four-time Olympic champion rower, abseiled down the 114.5m tall ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture at the Olympic Park, taking the Queen's note with him.

Irish boxing hero and former WBA featherweight champion Barry McGuigan was also on hand to welcome it in a specially-made ring at an event in east London, where visiting youngsters were given the chance to try out a range of sports.

The Queen's Baton has been on a 198,000km relay across the Commonwealth and visited 70 nations and territories in an effort to build excitement ahead of the tournament.

The baton was later taken to Downing Street by boxer Nicola Adams, where it was welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

He said: "The baton relay gives the whole country and Commonwealth the chance to share in the excitement of the countdown to Glasgow 2014. And as the baton travels through London and the Olympic Park, it is a reminder of the huge capacity these world-class sporting events have to capture people's imagination and how Glasgow 2014 will build on that legacy."

Adams, who won the first Olympic women's boxing gold medal at the London 2012 Games, hopes to compete in Glasgow, where she will represent England.

When the baton reaches Scotland on June 14, it will start a 40-day journey through 400 communities across the country. Up to 4000 people will carry the Queen's message, before it is read out at the opening ceremony.

One of its first calling points in Scotland will be Edinburgh, where the baton will be taken after it arrives in Coldstream. It will visit the Meadowbank Stadium, which hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1970 and 1986, and the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

In the evening, local artists will perform at a concert at West Princes Street Gardens, hosted by comedian Sanjeev Kohli.

Edinburgh Council deputy leader Steve Cardownie said: "It will also offer the chance to cheer on some of Team Scotland's sporting stars ahead of their Commonwealth Games competitions."

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