Commonwealth Games


Commonwealth Games, a major multisport competition staged every four years and contested by individuals and teams representing countries from within the Commonwealth of Nations.


The idea for the event was first proposed in 1891 by the Reverend J. Astley Cooper and the first Inter-Empire sports meeting was held at Crystal Palace, London, in 1911 as part of King George V’s coronation celebrations. The first Games proper were held as the British Empire Games, in Hamilton, Canada, in 1930, when 11 countries and 400 athletes competed. Six sports were included in the first Games but the only women’s events were in swimming. In 1954 the Games have retitled the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, after 1970 they were known as the British Commonwealth Games, and since 1990 as the Commonwealth Games. The Games have been hosted in the following cities: Hamilton, Canada (1930); London, England (1934); Sydney, Australia (1938); Auckland, New Zealand (1950); Vancouver, Canada (1954); Cardiff, Wales (1958); Perth, Australia (1962); Kingston, Jamaica (1966); Edinburgh, Scotland (1970); Christchurch, New Zealand (1974); Edmonton, Canada (1978); Brisbane, Australia (1982); Edinburgh, Scotland (1986); Auckland, New Zealand (1990); Victoria, Canada (1994); Kuala Lumpur (1998); Manchester, England (2002); and Melbourne, Australia (2006). Future Games are planned for New Delhi, India (2010) and Glasgow, Scotland (2014).


Until 1998 ten sports were competed for at each Games, though the individual sports themselves differed every four years (apart from athletics and swimming which were ever regulars). The number of entrants has grown over the years and the number of sports in which women participate has also increased. The participatory sports at the 2006 Commonwealth Games were: athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, diving, gymnastics, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, rugby 7s, shooting, squash, swimming, synchronized swimming, table tennis, triathlon, and weightlifting.


Team sports (cricket, men’s and women’s hockey, netball, and rugby 7s) were introduced for the first time at the 1998 Games at Kuala Lumpur.


All countries from the Commonwealth compete at the Games; the United Kingdom competes as its constituent parts, namely England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, in addition to teams representing Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man.

At the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the winning nation was Australia with 84 gold medals, followed by England (36), Canada (26), India (22), South Africa (12), and Scotland (11). Over the years the most successful nation has also been Australia, followed closely by England, then Canada and New Zealand. More than three-quarters of the 71 different participating countries have won at least a bronze medal.

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