Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games, more often than not known as the Friendly Games, are an international multisport competition held every four years for athletes belonging to the Commonwealth of Nations. Since its debut in 1930, the games have been conducted every four years with the exception of 1942 and 1946 (both of which were postponed owing to World War II). From 1930 to 1950, the events were known as the British Empire Games, from 1954 to 1966 as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, and from 1970 to 1974 as the British Commonwealth Games. Since 2002, athletes with disabilities have been accepted as full members of their country teams, making the Commonwealth Games the first international multisport competition to be completely inclusive.

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Latest Updates on Commonwealth Games

  • The 22nd Commonwealth Games, which just concluded, took place in Birmingham from July 28 through August 8, 2022. When the 2026 Commonwealth Games are held in four locations throughout the Australian state of Victoria from March 17 to March 29, they will be the first decentralised Commonwealth Games ever held.
  • Gabon and Togo are anticipated to send a team to the 2026 Commonwealth Games for the first time, as the two nations were admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations in June 2022 and did not have time to organise their organisations for the 2022 Games, which were slated for the end of July.
  • In total, India has won 22 gold, 16 silver, and 23 bronze medals in Birmingham CWG 2022.
  • The parasports medals section and the overall medal standings for each nation were combined for the first time in CWG history.
  • Commonwealth Games 2022 was the first carbon-neutral international multisport event.

About Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), which oversees the Games and chooses the host cities, manages the sporting programme. International sports federations (IFs), Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs), and organising bodies for each individual Commonwealth Games make up the movement of the game. A few customs are specific to the Games, including raising the Commonwealth Games flag, the Queen’s Baton Relay, and the opening and closing ceremonies. Typically, gold, silver, and bronze medals are given to the winners of the first, second, and third places in each event. Despite the Commonwealth of Nations has 56 members, there are 72 Commonwealth Games Associations.

Each of its six regions – Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Oceania—performs a comparable role to that of the National Olympic Committees in relation to their respective nations or territories. The CGA duties are carried out by their NOCs in other countries, such as South Africa and India. One of the ways the Commonwealth Games differ from other multisport competitions is that the 15 CGAs taking part do not send delegations separately from the Olympic, Paralympic, and other multisport events. This is because 13 of the CGAs are affiliated with the British Olympic Association, one is affiliated with the Australian Olympic Committee, and another is affiliated with the New Zealand Olympic Committee, just like their Paralympic counterparts.

Commonwealth Winter Games

The Commonwealth Winter Games were a multi-sport event that featured winter sports and were last hosted in 1966. The Games have been held three times. To supplement the Winter Olympics and Summer Olympic Games, the Winter Games were created as a counterpoint to the Commonwealth Games, which focus on summer sports. T.D. Richardson founded the Winter Games. The 1958 Commonwealth Winter Games took place in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and were the first winter games. The 1962 Games were hosted in St. Moritz to supplement the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia, and the 1966 event was also held in St. Moritz before the idea was dropped.

Commonwealth Youth Games

The Commonwealth Youth Games are a multi-sport international tournament organised by the Commonwealth Games Federation. The current Commonwealth Games format sees the Games held every four years. In 1997, the Commonwealth Games Federation examined the possibility of holding the Millennium Commonwealth Youth Games. The concept was agreed upon in 1998 with the goal of offering a Commonwealth multi-sport tournament for young people born in 1986 or later. The inaugural version was held from August 10 to 14, 2000 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Athletes must be between the ages of 14 and 18.

History of Commonwealth Games

John Astley Cooper proposed a sporting competition bringing together members of the British Empire in 1891, writing letters and articles for several periodicals proposing a “Pan Brittanic, Pan Anglican Contest once every four years as a way of increasing goodwill and acceptance of the British Empire”.  An Inter-Empire Championship was hosted during the Festival of Empire in 1911 at The Crystal Palace in London to commemorate George V’s coronation and was championed by The Earl of Plymouth as well as Lord Desborough. Teams representing Australia and New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, as well as the United Kingdom contested athletics, boxing, swimming, and wrestling events. Canada was awarded a silver cup for winning the championships. Melville Marks Robinson, who participated in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam as the Canadian track and field team manager, fought hard for the plan to hold the first British Empire Games in Hamilton in 1930.
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Commonwealth Games Federation

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) an international organisation, is in charge of overseeing and directing the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games and is the ultimate authority on all matters pertaining to the games. CGF’s headquarters are located at Commonwealth House in London, England. The Commonwealth House also houses the Royal Commonwealth Society as well as the Commonwealth Local Government Forum’s headquarters.

According to the International Olympic Committee, the Commonwealth Games Movement consists of three primary components:

  • International Federations (IFs) are the governing bodies that oversee a sport on a global scale. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA), for example, is the sport’s international governing body.
  • Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) administer and regulate the Commonwealth Games Movement within their respective countries, analogous to National Olympic Committees. The Commonwealth Games England (CGE), for example, is England’s CGA. The CGF has currently recognised 72 CGAs.
  • The Commonwealth Games Organising Groups (OCCWGs) are transitory committees in charge of organising each Commonwealth Games. After each game, OCCWGs are disbanded once the final report is given to the CGF.

The Commonwealth’s official language is English. The language of the host country is also utilised at each Commonwealth Games (or languages, if a nation has more than one official language other than English). Every proclamation (for example, the announcement of each country during the parade of nations during the opening ceremony) is made in one of these two (or more) languages. If the host country does this, the language(s) and order must be chosen by them.

Queen’s Baton Relay

The Queen’s Baton Relay is a global relay staged prior to the start of the Commonwealth Games. The Baton contains a message from the Commonwealth’s Head of State, presently Queen Elizabeth II. The Relay commences at Buckingham Palace in London as part of the city’s Commonwealth Day celebrations. The Queen hands the baton over to the first relay runner. The final relay runner delivers the baton back to the Queen or her representative at the Games’ Opening Ceremony, who reads the letter publicly to officially start the Games. The Olympic Torch Relay is analogous to the Queen’s Baton Relay.

The Relay was first conducted at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales in the year 1958. Prior to and throughout the 1994 Games, the Relay only passed through England and the host country. The Relay for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, became the first to travel to other Commonwealth countries. The Sunshine Coast The Queen’s Baton Relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games was the longest in the history of the game. The Baton travelled across the six Commonwealth regions of Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Oceania, covering 230,000 kilometres (150,000 miles) in 388 days. The Queen’s Baton was presented for the first time at the Commonwealth Youth Games during its sixth edition in Nassau, Bahamas, in 2017.

Commonwealth Games Ceremonies

Opening Ceremony

The Commonwealth Games opening ceremony is framed by a variety of features. This ritual occurs before the events take place. The event usually begins with the raising of the host country’s flag and the singing of its national anthem. During the opening ceremony, the Commonwealth Games Federation banner, the flag of the previous hosting nation, and the flag of the next hosting nation are all displayed. The host country then performs culturally relevant musical, singing, dance, and theatrical performances. As each host attempts to give a ceremony that outlasts its predecessor in terms of memorability, the artistic presentations have expanded in scale and sophistication. The opening ceremony of the Delhi Games reportedly cost $70 million, with the majority of the money spent on creative elements.

Closing Ceremony

The Commonwealth Games’ closing ceremony is held after all athletic events have ended. Flag bearers from every participating nation enter the stadium, followed by athletes who enter without regard for nationality. The Games are formally closed after the presidents of the organising committee and the CGF deliver their final remarks. The CGF president also discusses the game’s organisation. The mayor of the city that hosted the Games hands over the Commonwealth Games flag to the president of the CGF, who then passes it on to the mayor of the city that will host the next Commonwealth Games. The next host country then briefly introduces itself with artistic demonstrations of dance and theatre from its culture.

Medal Presentation

Following the conclusion of each event, a medal ceremony is held. The first, second, and third-place athletes or teams are awarded their medals from a three-tiered rostrum. Following the presentation of the medals by a CGF member, the national flags of the three medalists are raised while the gold medalist’s country’s national anthem plays. Volunteers from the host country also serve as hosts during the medal ceremonies, assisting officials who give the medals and serving as flag bearers.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Medal Tally

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Australia 67 57 54 178
2 England 57 66 53 176
3 Canada 26 32 34 92
4 India 22 16 23 61
5 New Zealand 20 12 17 49
6 Scotland 13 11 27 51
7 Nigeria 12 9 14 35
8 Wales 8 6 14 28
9 South Africa 7 9 11 27
10 Malaysia 7 8 8 23
11-43 Others 41 56 60 157
Total 280 282 315 877

Commonwealth Games Medal Tally

Rank CGA Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Australia 1003 834 767 2604
2 England 773 783 766 2322
3 Canada 510 548 589 1647
4 India 203 190 171 564
5 New Zealand 179 232 295 706
6 South Africa 137 132 147 416
7 Scotland 132 143 227 502
8 Kenya 91 80 87 258
9 Nigeria 82 84 105 271
10 Wales 75 104 155 334
11 Malaysia 66 73 89 228
12 Jamaica 65 53 58 176
13 Singapore 40 31 36 107
14 Northern Ireland 37 46 59 142
15 Pakistan 27 27 29 83
16 Cyprus 25 16 23 64
17 Uganda 19 16 25 60
18 Ghana 15 20 28 63
19 Trinidad and Tobago 13 23 26 62
20 Bahamas 11 14 13 38
21 Cameroon 11 12 17 40
22 Nauru 10 11 10 31
23 Samoa 6 12 11 29
24 Zimbabwe 6 9 14 29
25 Tanzania 6 7 11 24
26 Zambia 5 13 24 42
27 Papua New Guinea 5 8 2 15
28 Botswana 5 6 8 19
29 Namibia 5 4 15 24
30 Hong Kong 5 2 10 17
31 Sri Lanka 4 9 11 24
32 Fiji 4 7 12 23
33 Guyana 4 6 6 16
34 Barbados 3 4 8 15
35 Isle of Man 3 3 6 12
36 Bermuda 3 2 3 8
37 Grenada 3 2 2 7
38 Mozambique 2 4 3 9
39 Bangladesh 2 4 2 8
40 Malaysia 2 3 2 7
41 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2 0 1 3
42 British Virgin Islands 2 0 0 2
43 Mauritius 1 9 8 18
44 Guernsey 1 4 3 8
45 Saint Lucia 1 1 3 5
46 Lesotho 1 1 1 3
47 Jersey 1 0 3 4
48 Cayman Islands 1 0 1 2
49 Kiribati 1 0 0 1
Saint Kitts and Nevis 1 0 0 1
51 Seychelles 0 3 4 7
52 Rhodesia and Nyasaland 0 2 5 7
53 Dominica 0 2 1 3
54 Malta 0 1 6 7
55 Swaziland 0 1 3 4
56 The Gambia 0 1 1 2
57 Ireland 0 1 0 1
58 Malawi 0 0 3 3
Tonga 0 0 3 3
Vanuatu 0 0 3 3
61 Niue 0 0 2 2
Norfolk Island 0 0 2 2
63 Cook Islands 0 0 1 1
Solomon Islands 0 0 1 1
Totals (64 CGAs) 3,609 3,603 3,927 11,139

Frequently Asked Questions about Commonwealth Games:

Where are the 2022 Commonwealth Games?

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held between 28 July and 8 August, 2022. It will feature the largest Para-sport program at a Commonwealth Games to date with 8 Para-sports being contested.

How long is the Commonwealth Games 2022?

Birmingham 2022 has the biggest ever sports programme in Commonwealth Games history, with 286 sessions across 11 days of live sport.

How many countries in the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent countries, almost all of which were formerly under British rule. The origins of the Commonwealth come from Britain’s former Empire.

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