Commonwealth Games are international multi-sport events held every four years involving Commonwealth of Nations.
The outstanding performance of Indian athletes in Commonwealth Games, 2018 has made this event a familiar name among Indian households. The latest Gold Coast 2018 tournament was the 21st in the series of commonwealth events that started long back in 1930. Members of the Commonwealth of Nations organize and host this event every four years. While, only athletes from member countries (and colonies) can take part in these games. Although, there are 53 members in Commonwealth of Nations, 71 teams currently participate in this event. Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is the governing body for the tournament. It also controls the sporting events and select the host cities. International Sports Federation (ISF) and Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) also supervise the event. The tournament involves a total of 22 sports and 7 para-sports. However, host nations can also pick up a number of optional sports including team sports.
History of Commonwealth Games
John Astley Cooper in 1891 proposed a sporting competition to bring together the members of British Empire. In 1911, an inter-empire championship competition held at The Crystal Palace, London. The teams from Australia, Canada, South-Africa and United Kingdom participated here in athletics, boxing and swimming events. However, the British Empire Games in 1930 marked the official onset of what later known as Commonwealth games. Hamilton city of Ontario province in Canada hosted that event where 11 countries sent 400 athletes to compete. The tournament was known as the British Empire Games from 1930 to 1950, the British Empire and Commonwealth Games from 1954 to 1966 and British Commonwealth Games till 1974. Since 1930, the games have taken place every four years except 1942 and 1946 due to second world war.
Ceremonies and Queen’s Baton Relay
Nowadays, many rituals and ceremonies takes place in Commonwealth Games. The most important being Opening and Closing Ceremony, Medal Ceremony and Queen’s Baton Relay. Queen’s Baton Relay is conducted prior to the beginning of games. The baton carries a message from Queen Elizabeth 2, who is currently the head of Commonwealth. The relay traditionally begins from Buckingham Palace, London as a part of Commonwealth Day’s festivities. The queen hands the baton to the first relay runner. While at the opening ceremony, the final relay runner returns back the baton to queen.
Opening ceremony takes place in host city and marks the beginning of events. The ceremony starts with hoisting host country’s flag and its national anthem performance. The flag of Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), previous and next hosting nations are also hoisted during the ceremony. A huge celebration occurs with the ‘Athletes Parade’ grouped according to nations.
Closing Ceremony marks the event of the events. Flag Bearers of each country enter the stadium followed by the athletes who enter altogether. The president of organizing committee and CGF give their closing speech. The mayor of the host city passes the flag to CGF president who then passes it to the mayor of next host city. Also, President of CGF presents award to an athlete who has competed with distinction throughout the games.
Statistics of the Game
- Although, there are 53 members yet only 6 teams have participated in all the commonwealth games. They are Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales.
- Australia have been the highest scoring team for 12 games, England for 7 and Canada for 1.
- Australia has secured top most position in all time medal table followed by England, Canada, India and New Zealand.
- Glasgow, Scotland hosted the Commonwealth games of 2014 while Gold Coast, Australia was the host for 2018. Also, Birmingham, England is going to host the 2022 games.
- Australia has hosted the events highest number of times i.e. 13 times.
- 2018 Games became the first major multi-sport event to achieve Gender Equality i.e. number of events for male and female athletes were equal.
- Australia again topped the medal table for 2018 followed by England and India.