Commonwealth Games

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Current flag of the Commonwealth Games Federation
Image:Commonwealth Games years participants.PNG
Locations of the games, and participating countries

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 first such event, then known as the British Empire Games, was held in 1930. 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.

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 KingdomEngland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland—send separate teams to the Commonwealth Games, and individual teams are also sent from the British Crown DependenciesGuernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man—and many of the British overseas territories.

Only six teams have attended every Commonwealth Games: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales.


[edit] Origins

A sporting competition bringing together the members of the British Empire was first proposed by 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 (Bobby) Robinson of Canada was asked to organise the first British Empire Games. These were held in Hamilton, Ontario two years later.

[edit] Opening ceremony traditions

  • From 1930 through 1950, the parade of nations was led by a single flagbearer carrying the Union Jack, 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.

[edit] 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 to South African sporting contacts. Boycotts were also threatened in 1974, 1982, and 1990 because of South Africa.

[edit] Editions

The Empire Games flag was donated in 1930 by the British Empire Games Association of Canada. The year and location of subsequent games were added until the 1950 games. The name of the event was changed to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games and the flag was retired as a result.
British Commonwealth Games seal
Commonwealth Games Federation seal, adopted in 2001

[edit] British Empire Games

[edit] British Empire and Commonwealth Games

[edit] British Commonwealth Games

[edit] Commonwealth Games

[edit] Commonwealth Games Federation

[edit] 2014 Commonwealth Games bid cities

[edit] 2018 Commonwealth Games possible bidders

[edit] List of nations/dependencies to compete

[edit] Nations/dependencies that have competed

[edit] Commonwealth nations/dependencies yet to send teams

The fact that very few Commonwealth dependencies and nations have yet to take part is evidence of the popularity of the Games in Commonwealth countries. Indeed, of those nations, Tokelau is likely to be taking part in 2010 Games in Delhi. Representations have also been made to the CGF for teams to take part in the Commonwealth Games from Cornwall and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

[edit] List of sports at the Commonwealth Games

The current regulations state that a minimum of ten and no more than fifteen sports must be included in a Commonwealth Games schedule. There is a list of core sports, which must be included, and a further list of approved sports from which the host nation chooses which to include. The host nation may also apply for the inclusion of other team sports to the CGF General Assembly, like the Melbourne organising committee did with Basketball for the 2006 Games.

The current core sports consist of athletics, aquatics (swimming, diving and synchronised swimming), lawn bowls, netball (for women) and rugby sevens (for men). These will all remain core sports until at least the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The approved list of sports also includes archery, badminton, billiards and snooker, boxing, canoeing, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, judo, rowing, shooting, squash, table tennis, tennis, tenpin bowling, triathlon, weightlifting, wrestling and sailing. Some of these are often included in the programme, while others, like billiards and sailing, have not yet been approved.

There is also a requirement to include some events for Elite Athletes with a Disability (EAD). This was introduced in the 2002 Games.

15 sports are confirmed for Delhi 2010, but the program is going to change

In 2002, the GCF introduced the David Dixon Award for the outstanding athlete of the Games.

Below, the years in brackets show when the sports appeared at the games.

As of November 18th 2006, Tennis and archery have been added to the list of disciplines for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Billiards and Snooker however, were not as fortunate.

[edit] Sports currently included

[edit] Events on hiatus

[edit] Events which were never held

[edit] See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

[edit] External links

[edit] Official games sites

[edit] Official games bid sites

[edit] Countries

Commonwealth Games
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Commonwealth Games

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