Commonwealth Games

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Sports events

Current flag of the Commonwealth Games Federation
Current flag of the Commonwealth Games Federation
Locations of the games, and participating countries
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 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 1974.

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 Dependencies—Guernsey, 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 non-sovereign states in free association with New Zealand.

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


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.

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.


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.


British Empire Games

British Empire and Commonwealth Games

  • 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Flag of Wales 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games - Cardiff, Wales
  • Flag of Australia 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games - Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  • Flag of Jamaica 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games - Kingston, Jamaica

British Commonwealth Games

  • Flag of Scotland 1970 British Commonwealth Games - Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Flag of New Zealand 1974 British Commonwealth Games - Christchurch, New Zealand

Commonwealth Games

  • Flag of Canada 1978 Commonwealth Games - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Flag of Australia 1982 Commonwealth Games - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Flag of Scotland 1986 Commonwealth Games - Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Flag of New Zealand 1990 Commonwealth Games - Auckland, New Zealand
  • Flag of Canada 1994 Commonwealth Games - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • Flag of Malaysia 1998 Commonwealth Games - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Commonwealth Games Federation

  • Flag of England 2002 Commonwealth Games Federation - Manchester, England
  • Flag of Australia 2006 Commonwealth Games Federation - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Flag of India 2010 Commonwealth Games Federation - Delhi, India

2014 Commonwealth Games bid cities

2018 Commonwealth Games potential bidders

List of nations/dependencies to compete

Nations/dependencies that have competed

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.

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.

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

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

On November 18, 2006, tennis and archery were added to the list of disciplines for the 2010 games in New Delhi, bringing the total number of sports to 17. Billiards and snooker were considered but were not accepted.

Sports currently included

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

  • Aquatics (1930—)
    • Swimming
    • Synchronised swimming
    • Diving
  • Athletics (men: 1930—, women: 1934—)
  • Badminton (1966—)
  • Basketball (2006—)
  • Boxing (1930—)
  • Cycling (1934—)
  • Gymnastics (1978, 1990—)
    • Rhythmic gymnastics 1994–1998, 2006—)
  • Field hockey (1998—)
  • Lawn bowls (1930–1962, 1972—)
  • Netball (1998—)
  • Rugby sevens (1998—)
  • Shooting (1966, 1974—)
  • Squash (1998—)
  • Table tennis (2002—)
  • Triathlon (2002—)
  • Weightlifting (1950—)
  • Events for Athletes with a Disability (2002—)
    • Athletics
    • Swimming
    • Table tennis
    • Powerlifting

Events on hiatus

  • Archery (1982 probably 2010)
  • Cricket (1998)
  • Fencing (1950–1970) (See also Commonwealth Fencing Championships)
  • Freestyle wrestling (1930–1986, 1994, 2002,come back in 2010)
  • Judo (1990, 2002) (See also Commonwealth Judo Championships)
  • Rowing (1930, 1938–1962, 1986) (maybe held in 2014 if Glasgow wins nomination)
  • Ten-pin bowling (1998) (see also Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships

Events which were never held

  • Karate - see also Commonwealth Karate Championships
  • Tennis
  • Snooker
  • Yachting
  • Taekwondo - see also Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships
  • Water Polo
  • Lifesaving - see also Commonwealth Pool Lifesaving Championships

Retrieved from ""