Leamington athletics coach selected for Queen's Baton Relay ahead of Commonwealth Games

Athletics coach Les Barnett has been selected to take part in the Queen’s Baton Relay in the build-up to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Les Barnett in his kit ready for the Queen's Baton Relay
Les Barnett in his kit ready for the Queen's Baton Relay
Les Barnett in his kit ready for the Queen's Baton Relay

Just 2,022 people have been chosen for the final leg of the 16th official baton relay, which will have seen it visit all 72 nations and territories.

In February the 80-year-old received England Athletics’ National Volunteer Award 2021 for Services to Athletics.

And now he has another prestigious accolade to recognise his contribution across all aspects of the sport over half a century.

"It’s a great honour,” said the Leamington C&AC club endurance /ultra coach. “Not just for me, but for the club and my family.

"I’m grateful for the opportunity. Only a few people will get that chance – just 2,022 to represent the year - and it’s not something that will happen again in my lifetime."

The relay began its 294-day journey on October 7, 2021 with Her Majesty The Queen placing her message to the Commonwealth into the baton.

Les will run his short distance on July 22 when the baton reaches Kenilworth, Whitnash and Warwick, although he won’t know the exact details until nearer the time.

He was nominated by Great Britain athlete Sue Harrison, who he has coached for more than 30 years.

"When I first heard about the relay I thought it would be a wonderful experience to take part,” added Les. “There must have been thousands who wanted to, so I am one of the lucky ones.

"When my kit arrived on the doorstep this week it’s all become very real.”