Commonwealth Games baton relay bypasses Macarthur

What a moment: Marathon runner and former Camden MP Pat Farmer lit the community cauldron at Campbelltown Sports Stadium during the 2000 Olympic torch relay. Picture: Andrew Taylor
What a moment: Marathon runner and former Camden MP Pat Farmer lit the community cauldron at Campbelltown Sports Stadium during the 2000 Olympic torch relay. Picture: Andrew Taylor

Macarthur residents could be forgiven for thinking organisers of the Commowealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay did everything they could to avoid the region.

A glance at a map of the route shows the baton travelled from Sydney to Jamisontown and essentially doubled back to Silverwater before heading south along the coast from Little Bay.

Perhaps organisers feared Narellan Road roadworks or M5 peak hour traffic may slow proceedings down.

Whatever the reason for the snub, it remains a mystery.

The Advertiser contacted the Commonwealth Games media department for an explanation but received no response.

Sorry Macarthur: A map of the Queen's Baton Relay route shows the event didn't come close to Macarthur. Picture: gc2018.com

Sorry Macarthur: A map of the Queen's Baton Relay route shows the event didn't come close to Macarthur. Picture: gc2018.com

Former Camden MP and marathon runner Pat Farmer – who carried the Olympic torch into Campbelltown Sports Stadium in 2000 and lit the cauldron at the local ground – said he was dumbfounded as to why Macarthur had been ignored by baton relay organisers.

“Especially when you consider Macarthur has played such a big role in producing athletes. Paul Nunnari was a Paralympic Games and Bronwyn Eagles (hammer throw) was a silver medalist (at the 2002 Commonwealth Games),” he said.

Daniel Tranter and Jim Piper (swimming), Alyson Annan (hockey) and Warren Potent (shooting) are just a few other notable Commonwealth and Olympic Games athletes who have called Macarthur home.

Glory: Warren Potent (right) receives his bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Picture: Andrew Meares

Glory: Warren Potent (right) receives his bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Picture: Andrew Meares

Mr Potent – a Currans Hill resident – was also one of the five Macarthur locals chosen to take part in the 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay along with Maximus Singleton (Bargo), Barbara Edwards (Thirlmere), Nicole Calarco (Wedderburn) and Dale Paul (Ambarvale).

The 2014 Commonwealth Games medalist said he soaked up the experience and the atmosphere as he made his way through La Perouse on Sunday. Though he said he would have jumped at the chance to carry the baton through his hometown.

“Taking part in the baton relay was a similar feeling to when I won a medal and I was glad to represent the area I live in,” he said.

“I would have loved to have run through our local streets in Macarthur but there were time constraints and (the baton) couldn’t go everywhere.

“But to go through Campbelltown, Camden or Narellan and have local people cheer me on would have been great.”

Cheered on: Sue Roden makes her way through Penrith with the Queen's Baton. Picture: Geoff Jones

Cheered on: Sue Roden makes her way through Penrith with the Queen's Baton. Picture: Geoff Jones

Mr Farmer said he would never forget the feeling of being cheered on by thousands of locals who lined the streets of the region on September 5, 2000.

“It was amazing,” he said.

“If you look at photos from that day you can see the place (Campbelltown Sports Stadium) was choc-a-bloc.

“It was the biggest and most intense crowd that I have ever experienced.

“When there is a rugby league game at the stadium, there are 26 players and a couple of referees on the ground.

“But that day there were so many people you couldn’t see a blade of grass.”

Plugger: Former AFL player Tony Lockett leaves Campbelltown Sports Stadium with the Olympic torch. Picture: Andrew Taylor

Plugger: Former AFL player Tony Lockett leaves Campbelltown Sports Stadium with the Olympic torch. Picture: Andrew Taylor

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