THE Queen’s Baton relay will be coming to Gwent on the first of its seven days in Wales, it was announced today.

The baton’s week long journey in Wales will begin in Abertillery and Ebbw Vale, after touching down at Cardiff airport on Saturday May 24, ahead of the Commonwealth Games this summer in Glasgow.

The baton began its journey on October 9 at Buckingham Palace and over 70 Nations and over 288 days, will visit every nation and territory of the Commonwealth, uniting some two billion citizens. It is currently in Nigeria.

Chris Jenkins, Commonwealth Games Council for Wales CEO, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay acts as an invitation to the nation to join the extended Team Wales family. It is the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth and its arrival in Wales sends a strong signal that the Games are fast approaching.

More than 200 Welsh athletes are expected to compete in the Games which open on July 23 and run until August 3.

Mr Jenkins added: “With the whole of Wales behind our athletes we’re a team three million strong. We’re such a proud and passionate sporting nation and the QBR provides us with the chance to engage directly with the people of Wales and share the excitement of the Commonwealth Games with them.”

On leaving Ebbw Vale the baton will go to Tredegar and Aberdare, before heading further West and then North, ending in Llandegla.

Anita Hobbs, executive member for Social Services-Children and Active Living at Blaenau Gwent council, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Blaenau Gwent and I am delighted we are the first place in Wales for the baton to visit. I urge local people to come and take part in the celebrations and hope that our Commonwealth Athletes come forward to take part.”

Baton bearers will be selected by their communities and have the honour of taking the baton to events and celebrations in their area.

Sport Wales Chief Executive Sarah Powell, said: “Athletes from the past, present and indeed the future will all form part of the QBR journey. It will give these sporting heroes and heroines an opportunity to reconnect with their home towns and communities, inspiring the next generation of young people and giving them the confidence to know that, one day, they too could compete for Wales.”