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History: Commonwealth Games

The idea of a united sporting event amongst the Commonwealth nations was first thought of on the lines of the Olympic Games in the late 1800s.

As a precursor to the eventual competition, the 'Festival of Empire' was held in 1911 to mark the coronation of King George V. The games saw teams from Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom competing in events like boxing, wrestling, swimming and athletics.

The first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930 in Hamilton in Canada where 11 countries sent 400 athletes to take part in 6 sports and 59 events.

Canadian sporting legend Bobby Robinson finally implemented the idea that was being thought about for years. Since then the Games have been organised every four years except the for 1942 and 1946 when the sporting competition was suspended due to the World War II.

From 1930 to 1950 the Games were known as the British Empire Games and from 1954 until 1966 as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

The games were then called the British Commonwealth Games in 1970 and 1974, before taking it's current name and form.

The Commonwealth Games included only single competition events from it's inception in 1930 till the 1994 Games in Victoria. It was in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur that team sports were first introduced in the Games.

Since then cricket, hockey (both men's and women's), rugby 7s and netball have all graced the events in different editions of it.

Here is a lowdown on all the editions of the Games so far:

1930 Hamilton: Canada hosted the first Games with the city of Hamilton providing $30,000 to help cover travelling costs of the participating nations. The Games were then known as the Empire Games. Athletes from 11 countries competed in just six events.

1934 London, England: The next Games were held at the home of the British empire where 16 nations sent their team. It was here that women participated in the Commonwealth Games for the first time.

1938 Sydney, Australia: The opening ceremony of the Sydney Games was watched by more than 40,000 enthusiastic fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This edition saw the inclusion of track cycling for the first time.

1950 Auckland, New Zealand: The Games made their debut in New Zealand after a 12 year hiatus due to the World War II. 12 nations sent their teams for the 10-day extravaganza.

1954 Vancouver, Canada: The Games returned to Canada this year and will be remembered for the dual between England's Roger Bannister and Australian John Landy, both of whom ran the mile under four minutes with Bannister winning the gold eventually.

1958 Cardiff, Wales: This was the largest sporting event ever to have been staged in Wales with several Commonwealth nations sending their teams for it. More than 1000 athletes took part in the event.

1962 Perth, Australia: The Games were held in Australia for the second time and conditions weren't very favourable as the temperature was over 35 degrees for most of the period. Many countries made their debut such as Papua New Guinea, Dominica and St Lucia while some like Malaya were seen for the last time.

1966 Kingston, Jamaica: The name of the competition was changed to British Commonwealth Games this year and was held in the heart of the West Indies. Although many nations had apprehensions about the island's ability to host such a big sporting event, everything went according to plan without any problems.

1970 Edinburgh, Scotland: The Games were hosted by Scotland for the first time and it was also the first edition which was attended by the British Queen.

1974 Christchurch, New Zealand: New Zealand hosted their second Games with security arrangement at its highest after the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympic Games. Despite the shadow of fear, the Games were a success.

1978 Edmonton, Canada: The home team from Canada dominated the event with 45 golds as Canada had become the hub of international sports with the Olympics being held in Montreal in 1976.

1982 Brisbane, Australia: The Games were made memorable by the giant mechanical kangaroo unveiled during the opening ceremony. The sporting events were also extremely competitive with the 200 mts title being shared.

1986 Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburg became the first city to host the Games twice but much of the sheen was taken away from the sport as 32 nations boycotted the Games in opposition to apartheid rule which did not allow South Africa to participate.

1990 Auckland, New Zealand: 54 nations competed in the Games with Australia beginning their all round domination with 164 medals in total. England were second with 130 while Canada finished third with 116.

1994 Victoria, Canada: The Games were made special by two African nations. Everyone gave a warm welcome to South Africa who returned after 30 years of apartheid wilderness while Nigeria stunned all by finishing 4th in the medal table.

1998 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: This was the first time that the Commonwealth Games were hosted in Asia. Cricket and netball made their debut in the Games with other team sports like hockey and rugby 7s.

2002 Manchester, England: These were the biggest Commonwealth Games till date with 72 nations participating in 17 disciplines. Ian Thorpe led the Gold rush for Australia winning 6 from the pool as Australia led the table with 82 Golds and 207 medals overall.

2006 Melbourne, Australia: Over 5000 athletes participated in the Melbourne Games. For the first time in the history of the Games the Queen's Baton visited every single Commonwealth nation and territory taking part in the Games, a journey of 180,000 kms. Australia had the largest contingent with 535 athletes.


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Sonali Chander
Sonali Chander
Sorry for the delays! Do you agree with Mr Gavaskar that Sehwag should have had his surgery before the the IPL so as not miss Windies tour? 2 years ago
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Tennis is making its debut in the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.