Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council
24 May 2014  
Andersonstown Leisure Centre played host to local netball players and those from Dumfries and Galloway 
While last week witnessed the Queen’s Baton Relay passing through Northern Ireland, the Commonwealth Games focus shifted on Saturday as hundreds of athletes competed in eight sports across three Belfast venues. But there was a slight twist as these athletes were all primary school children taking part in the Glasgow 2014 ‘2nd Nation’ programme which has paired the region of Dumfries and Galloway (D&G) with Northern Ireland. 
As part of the programme the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC) took 25 teenage volunteers from the Craigavon area to Scotland last September to officiate at the D&G Active Games finals. These primary school games provided 40 children the opportunity to travel to Belfast on Friday to participate in the Queen’s Baton Relay before joining local children in a range of sporting activities on Saturday. They will also officially become the first Scottish children to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay and to hold the baton
Belfast City Council facilities were used at Andersonstown (swimming and netball), Shankill (boccia, gymnastics and badminton) and Mary Peters Track (athletics, rugby and cycling). 
Calum Graham, Lead Officer Active Schools & Community Sport at D&G Council, expressed the feeling of the travelling delegation which included parents, young ambassadors, teachers and  
council representatives. ‘The welcome that we have received has been incredible. Being involved in the Queen’s Baton Relay has provided the children with a once in a lifetime opportunity. To then play sport and make new friends with the young people of Northern Ireland has made for a fantastic weekend.’ 
The visit has been hosted by the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council and supported through the sportscotland 2nd Nation initiative and Belfast City Council’s Support for Sport programme. Executive Officer of the NICGC, Conal Heatley, said: ‘It has been a great week locally with the Queen’s Baton Relay highlighting this summer’s Games in Glasgow, showcasing our athletes and harnessing the public’s support. Joining several hundred local children with those from Dumfries and Galloway further highlights the important role that we can all play in sending out a positive message about the benefits of engaging with our young people through sport. I would like to thank all those who contributed to a wonderful event including the various individuals, clubs, schools and governing bodies, Belfast City Council and our delivery partner Community Multisport.’ 
Young Scottish cyclists joined VC Glendale as they explored the off-road trails at Mary Peters Track. 
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