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Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games Federation Logo.svg
Commonwealth Games Federation seal, adopted in 2001

Motto HUMANITY – EQUALITY – DESTINY
Headquarters London, England
Commonwealth Secretariat Hon. Michael Fennell OJ, CD
Website Commonwealth Games Federation

The Commonwealth Games is a multinational, multi-sport event. Held every four years, it involves the elite athletes of the Commonwealth of Nations. Attendance at the Commonwealth Games is typically around 5,000 athletes. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is the organisation that is responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games.

The first such event, then known as the British Empire Games, was held in 1930 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The name changed to British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954, to British Commonwealth Games in 1970 and assumed the current name of the Commonwealth Games in 1978.[1]

As well as many Olympic sports, the Games also include some sports that are played mainly in Commonwealth countries, such as lawn bowls, rugby sevens and netball.

There are currently 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and 71 teams participate in the Games. The four constituent countries of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – send separate teams to the Commonwealth Games (unlike at the Olympic Games, where the United Kingdom sends a single team), and individual teams are also sent from the British Crown dependenciesGuernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man – and many of the British overseas territories. The Australian external territory of Norfolk Island also sends its own team, as do the Cook Islands and Niue, two states in free association with New Zealand.

Only six teams have attended every Commonwealth Games: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. Australia has been the highest scoring team for ten games, England for seven and Canada for one.

At the 1930 games, women competed in the swimming events only.[2] From 1934, women also competed in some athletics events[citation needed].

The next edition will be held in 2010 in Delhi, India. In 2014 the Games will be held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Contents

Origins

A sporting competition bringing together the members of the British Empire was first proposed by the Reverend Astley Cooper in 1891 when he wrote an article in The Times suggesting a "Pan-Britannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing the goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire".

In 1911, the Festival of the Empire was held in London to celebrate the coronation of King George V. As part of the festival an Inter-Empire Championships was held in which teams from Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom competed in events such as boxing, wrestling, swimming and athletics.

In 1928, Melville Marks Robinson of Canada was asked to organise the first ever British Empire Games. These were held in Hamilton, Ontario two years later.

Opening ceremony traditions

  • From 1930 through 1950, the parade of nations was led by a single flagbearer carrying the Union Flag, symbolising Britain's leading role in the British Empire.
  • Since 1958, there has been a relay of athletes carrying a baton from Buckingham Palace to the Opening Ceremony. This baton has within it the Queen's Message of Greeting to the athletes. The baton's final bearer is usually a famous sporting personage of the host nation.
  • All other nations march in English alphabetical order, except that the first nation marching in the Parade of Athletes is the host nation of the previous games, and the host nation of the current games marches last. In 2006 countries marched in alphabetical order in geographical regions.
  • Three national flags fly from the stadium on the poles that are used for medal ceremonies: Previous host nation, Current host nation, Next host nation.
  • The military is more active in the Opening Ceremony than in the Olympic Games. This is to honour the British Military traditions of the Old Empire.

Boycotts

The Commonwealth Games, like the Olympic Games, has also suffered from political boycotts. Nigeria boycotted the 1978 Games in protest of New Zealand's sporting contacts with apartheid-era South Africa, and 32 of 59 nations from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean boycotted the 1986 Commonwealth Games due to the Thatcher government's attitude towards South African sporting contacts. Boycotts were also threatened in 1974, 1982, and 1990 because of South Africa.

Editions

Locations of the games, and participating countries
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British Empire Games

British Empire and Commonwealth Games

British Commonwealth Games

Flag of the
British Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games

List of nations/dependencies to compete

Nations/dependencies that have competed

Notes:

1: Aden became South Arabia which left the Commonwealth in 1968.
2: Became Guyana in 1966.
3: Became Belize in 1973.
4: Became Sri Lanka in 1972.
5: Became Ghana in 1957.
6: Left the Commonwealth when handed over to China in 1997.
7: Ireland was represented as a team from the whole of Ireland in 1930, and from the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland in 1934. The Irish Free State, renamed Ireland in 1937 (but also known by its name in the Irish Eire) formally left the Commonwealth when it declared that it was a Republic on 1 January 1949.
8: Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore federated as Malaysia in 1963. Singapore left the federation in 1965.
9: Joined Canada in 1949.
10: Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia federated with Nyasaland from 1953 as Rhodesia and Nyasaland which lasted till 1963.
11: Divided into Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia in 1953.
12: Competed from 1958–1962 as part of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
13: Zanzibar and Tanganyika federated to form Tanzania in 1964.
14: Withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003.
15: Suspended from the Commonwealth and Games in 2009.[3]

Commonwealth nations/dependencies yet to send teams

Very few Commonwealth dependencies and nations have yet to take part.

  • It is also conceivable that any future members of the Commonwealth such as applicants  Sudan and  Yemen may participate in future games.
  •  Rwanda may send a team due to becoming a member of the Commonwealth in November 2009.

Approved sports

There are a total of 31 sports (with two multi-disciplinary sports) and a further 7 para-sports which are approved by the Commonwealth Games Federation. They are categorised into three types. Core sports must be included on each programme. A number of optional sports may be picked by the host nation, which may include some team sports such as basketball. Recognised sports are sports which have been approved by the CGF but which are deemed to need expansion; host nations may not pick these sports for their programme until the CGF's requirements are fulfilled.[5]

Sport Type Years
Archery Optional 1982, 2010
Athletics Core 1930–present
Badminton Core 1966–present
Basketball Optional 2006
Billiards Recognised Never
Boxing Core 1930–present
Canoeing Recognised Never
Cycling Optional 1934–present
Diving Optional 1930–present
Fencing Recognised 1950–1970
Golf Recognised Never
Gymnastics
(Artistic and Rhythmic)
Optional 1978, 1990–present
Handball Recognised Never
Field Hockey Core 1998–present
Judo Optional 1990, 2002, 2014
Lawn bowls Core 1930–present (except 1966)
Life saving Recognised Never
Sport Type Years
Netball Core 1998–present
Rowing Recognised 1930, 1938–62, 1986
Rugby sevens Core 1998–present
Sailing Recognised Never
Shooting Optional 1966, 1974–present
Softball Recognised Never
Squash Core 1998–present
Swimming Core 1930–present
Synchronized swimming Optional 1986, 2006
Table tennis Optional 2002–present
Tennis Optional 2010
Tenpin bowling Recognised 1998
Triathlon Optional 2002, 2006, 2014
Volleyball Recognised Never
Water polo Recognised 1950
Weightlifting Core 1950–present
Wrestling Optional 1930–present (except 1990 and 1998)

Numbers of athletes, sports, and nations

This list shows the total number of athletes, male and female, the number of sports they were selected to compete in, and the number of nations (including dependencies) competing.

Year Athletes Male Female Sports Events Officials Nations
2006 4500 162 247 71
2002 3863 173 72
1998 3638 15 70
1994 2669 12 63
1990 2073 10 205 55
1986 1660 10 165 27
1982 1580 12 143 45
1978 1475 11 126 47
1974 1276 977 299 10 121 372 38
1970 17441 10 121 42
1966 13161 10 110 34
1962 863 9 178 35
1958 1122 9 228 35
1954 662 9 127 24
1950 590 495 95 9 12
1938 464 7 43 15
1934 500 6 17
1930 400 6 11

1Total including athletes and officials. 2Includes 4 team sports. 3Includes 3 team sports.

Notable competitors

Lawn bowler Willie Wood from Scotland is the first competitor to have competed in seven Commonwealth Games, from 1974 to 2002. Greg Yelavich a sports shooter from New Zealand has won 11 medals at 6 games, from 1986 to 2006.

See also

References

External links

Official games sites

Countries


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