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
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
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
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.