Commonwealth Games FederationCommonwealth Games Federation

The Story of the Commonwealth Games

The first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada where 11 countries sent 400 athletes to take part in 6 sports and 59 events.  Bobby Robinson, a major influence within athletics in Canada at the time, finally implemented the event that had been talked about amongst Commonwealth nations for over thirty years with the City of Hamilton providing $30,000 to help cover travelling costs of the participating nations.

Since then, the Games have been conducted every four years (except for 1942 and 1946 due to World War II) and the event has seen many changes, not least in its name.  From 1930 to 1950 the Games were known as the British Empire Games, from 1954 until 1966 the British Empire and Commonwealth Games and from 1970 to 1974 they took on the title of British Commonwealth Games.  It was the 1978 Games in Edmonton that saw this unique, world class, multi-sports event change its name to the Commonwealth Games.

Often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’ only single competition sports had been on the programme from 1930 up to and including the 1994 Games in Victoria. The 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur saw the introduction of team sports with nations taking part in cricket (50 over game), hockey (men and women), netball (women) and rugby 7's (men). In Manchester in 2002 hockey, netball and rugby 7's graced the programme again and at the 2006 Games in Melbourne basketball accompanied hockey, netball and rugby 7's on the programme. In Delhi in 2010 hockey, netball and rugby 7’s again featured.

The 2002 Games in Manchester also saw for the first time, indeed at any multi-sport event in the world, a limited number of full medal events for elite athletes with a disability (EAD) in a fully inclusive sports programme. This continued in Melbourne where EAD athletes took part in athletics, swimming, table tennis and powerlifting.

In the year 2000 the CGF took on the added responsibility of the Commonwealth Youth Games, open to athletes 18 years of age and under the Youth Games provide an excellent opportunity for aspiring young athletes from the Commonwealth with a taste of what the Commonwealth Games has in store for them in the future. The inaugural Games were in Edinburgh with the last edition being hosted in 2004 in Bendigo, Australia with Pune in India in 2008 hosting the 3rd edition. In such a short space of time the Youth Games has grown in stature and this is evidenced by award of the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games to the Isle of Man.

The story of the Games evolved yet again on the 9th November 2007 when Glasgow (Scotland) was awarded the right to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.


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