Commonwealth sport mourns the death of the Queen at the age of 96

In October 2021, Queen Elizabeth II placed a secret message on the Commonwealth Games baton and presented it to British four-time Paralympic Games gold medalist Kadeena Cox.

It marked the beginning of a 294 day, 140,000 kilometer journey from Buckingham Palace to Birmingham through 72 nations and territories.

The tour of the baton began in the hands of Her Majesty and ended in the hands of her son, now King Charles III, standing in for the Queen, Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), at the opening ceremony in July.

Dame Louise Martin now holds the role of CGF President, a title held by the late Prince Philip for more than 30 years. Her tribute was one of many tributes that swept in as news of the Queen’s death spread across the Commonwealth.

“It is with deep sadness that we learn of the passing of our Patroness, Her Majesty the Queen,” she said.

“Throughout her long life and reign, her extraordinary dedication and service to the Commonwealth has been an inspiration to so many, including all of our athletes and Commonwealth Games officials.

“Her Majesty’s vision for the Commonwealth as a diverse and united family of nations will continue to inspire us – and will remain our mission and duty to benefit all athletes and communities through the power of sport.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with His Majesty the King, Queen Consort and all members of the Royal Family as we join citizens across the Commonwealth in mourning their loss at this very sad time.”

It was a view shared by Birmingham 2022 Organizing Committee Chair John Crabtree, who said: “We honor their lives of service and commitment to the Commonwealth and its shared values.

“The Queen has been a staunch supporter of the Games throughout her reign, which spanned 18 editions from Vancouver in 1954 to Birmingham in 2022, and her death will be mourned by participants and supporters around the world.”

Cox meanwhile sent her condolences twice, writing first: “OMG, RIP the beautiful Queen”, then alongside pictures of the staff squadron: “Longest reigning monarch. Queen Elizabeth you were amazing and always wore your beautiful outfits with your amazing smile. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet you and be a part of your anniversary parade more than once! rest in paradise.”

The first Commonwealth Games – then called the British Empire Games – were held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1930.

A tweet from Commonwealth Sport Canada read: “Incredibly saddened by the passing of the Patroness of the Commonwealth Games, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. @CwthSportCAN extends our deepest sympathy and condolences to His Majesty the King, Queen and all members of the Royal Family at this time out.”

The National Hockey League (NHL), meanwhile, released a moving tribute to Her Majesty with footage of the Queen’s ceremonial puck toss at a 2002 contest between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks.

Her Majesty was escorted down the red carpet by Wayne Gretzky, inductee of the NHL Hall of Fame.

A statement said: “The National Hockey League mourns the death and celebrates the remarkable life of Queen Elizabeth II. She held a special place in the hearts of Canadians and was associated with our game in unforgettable ways during her 70-year tenure tied together.”

It was the first NHL game the Queen attended since 1951, when she and Prince Philip, another princess, watched the Montreal Canadiens take on the New York Rangers.

As New Zealanders woke up to the news of the Queen’s death, the Twitter account of the New Zealand team, which represents the country’s Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams, wrote: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The New Zealand Olympic Committee sends its deepest condolences to the royal family and people of the United Kingdom. 1926 – 2022.”

Shortly after the announcement that South Africa’s crucial Test against England would be played on Friday, Cricket South Africa tweeted: “Cricket South Africa would like to extend their deepest condolences to the Royal Family, Great Britain and the entire Commonwealth.

“We are saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts are with the entire Royal Family.”

Meanwhile, Australia’s national rugby union team, the Wallabies, wrote: “The Wallabies join the rest of the world in mourning the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. RIP.” Commonwealth sport mourns the death of the Queen at the age of 96

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