History and Overview of the Commonwealth Games

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  • Topic: Glasgow, Commonwealth Games, 2014 Commonwealth Games
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  • Published : September 29, 2010
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The Commonwealth is an association of independent sovereign states spread over every continent and ocean. The Commonwealth’s 2 billion people make up 30% of the world’s population and are of many faiths, races, languages, cultures and traditions. The Commonwealth Games Family is best described as all persons who are entitled to accreditation at the Games under the provisions of the CGF.


The CGF is the governing body of the Commonwealth Games with the overall responsibility for the direction and control of the Games. The Patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Vice Patron is HRH the Earl of Wessex. Other members of the governing body are the President, Executive Board Members, Committees, Staff and Distinguished Guests of the CGF, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Sovereigns, Heads of State & Government (including royalty), Future Organising Committees, World Anti Doping Association and the Court of Arbitration for Sports.

The Commonwealth games were first held in 1930 in a city called Hamilton, Canada where 11 countries sent 400 athletes to take part in 6 sports and 59 events. Bobby Robinson, a major influence within athletics in Canada at the time, finally implemented the event that had been talked about amongst Commonwealth nations for over thirty years with the City of Hamilton providing $30,000 to help cover travelling costs of the participating nations. Since then, the Games have been conducted every four years, except for 1942 and 1946 due to the World War II. The event has seen many changes, not least in its name. From 1930 to 1950 the Games were known as the British Empire Games, from 1954 until 1966 the British Empire and Commonwealth Games and from 1970 to 1974 they took on the title of British Commonwealth Games. It was the 1978 Games in Edmonton that saw this unique, world class, and multi-sports event change its name to the Commonwealth Games.

Often referred to as the “Friendly Games”, only single competition sports had been on the programme from 1930 up to and including the 1994 Games in Victoria. The 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur saw the introduction of team sports with nations taking part in cricket (50 over game), hockey (men and women), netball (women) and rugby 7's (men). In Manchester in 2002 hockey, netball and rugby 7's graced the programme again and at the 2006 Games in Melbourne basketball accompanied hockey, netball and rugby 7's on the programme. Presently in Delhi 2010 hockey, netball and rugby 7’s are again a feature.

The 2002 Games in Manchester also saw for the first time, indeed at any multi-sport event in the world, a limited number of full medal events for elite athletes with a disability (EAD) in a fully inclusive sports programme. This continued in Melbourne where EAD athletes took part in athletics, swimming, table tennis and powerlifting.

In the year 2000 the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) took on the added responsibility of the Commonwealth Youth Games, open to athletes 18 years of age and under the Youth Games provide an excellent opportunity for aspiring young athletes from the Commonwealth with a taste of what the Commonwealth Games has in store for them in the future. The inaugural Games were in Edinburgh with the last edition being hosted in 2004 in Bendigo, Australia with Pune in India in 2008 hosting the 3rd edition. In such a short space of time the Youth Games has grown in stature and this is evidenced by award of the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games to the Isle of Man.

The story of the Games evolved yet again on the 9th November 2007 when Glasgow (Scotland) was awarded the right to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.


The CGAs are the 71 recognised organisations that are responsible for preparing, selecting and...
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