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Queen's Baton Relay inspires in West Lothian

Dean Paterson, West Lothian Council

Blog / Sport and physical activity
West Lothian welcomed the Queen’s Baton Relay on Sunday 15 June, with some 30,000 local residents turning out to see and participate in the numerous events across the county.

batonbearers in high streetAs one of West Lothian’s largest towns, the event in Bathgate’s Steelyard town centre was one of the largest celebrations along the route, with approximately 2,000 people joining the celebrations and cheering on the baton.

Locals were treated to a variety of sport and music in the build-up to the baton’s arrival, with West Lothian Council’s Sport and Outdoor Education Team organising and supporting the event on the day.

Master Sutherland’s Blackbelt Academy staged a first class Tae Kwon Do demonstration, along with music from local brass bands, Newlands Concert Brass and Bathgate Brass Band.

A highlight of the event was the chance to the fast-paced and inclusive sport of wheelchair basketball by the Lothian Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club. 

As soon as the portable football pitch, which was doubling up as an outdoor basketball court, was set up the line of eager children started to form and as fast as we were assembling chairs they were being filled and children were being led through the basics by the coaches and players from the Lothian Phoenix.

Lothian Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball ClubOne shot was not enough for the majority of children, who once they had been in a chair for a set time rejoined the queue of waiting participants. It wasn’t only children and a number of adults were brave enough to join the kids on court and do something completely alien to them.

We hope that the young people who tried wheelchair basketball for the first time will be inspired to get active in any sport and hopefully embrace parasport with their support and understanding.
Lothian Phoenix recognises that their role is not only to participate in sport but to also open the door of disability sport and raise awareness. Whilst not yet a Commonwealth sport the game is immediately recognisable and has many crossovers with the running game which will be at the Gold Coast Games.

The Lothian Phoenix players were also lucky enough to be chosen for a photo opportunity with the baton. This was a great event to be involved in and showcase the truly inclusive sport of wheelchair basketball using a well-established community club, to help break down barriers and build upon the legacy of strong disability sports clubs in West Lothian.