Britain’s Queen Elizabeth launches baton relay for Commonwealth Games

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LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II held her first major engagement at Buckingham Palace since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic a year and a half ago, as she presided Thursday over the launch of the baton relay for next year’s Commonwealth Games in the central England city of Birmingham.

The 95-year-old monarch handed the baton for what are often referred to as the “friendly games” to four-time Paralympic gold medallist Kadeena Cox, who is fresh from winning two events in Tokyo.

Cox, 30, took the baton on a brief journey around the nearby Queen Victoria Memorial in central London before handing it to another competitor.

“It’s really special,” she said. “I fall into this category where I’m very diverse — I’m a female, disabled, Black athlete. For me I think that’s what the Commonwealth represents and especially being in Birmingham which is such a diverse place.”

The Commonwealth Games, formerly known as the Empire Games, are held every four years and…

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