With it being just 35 days until the opening ceremony of The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, it got me thinking, I don’t know much about the history of the Commonwealth Games so I decided to do some research and I thought I’d share it with you lovely people.
The initial concept of the games was proposed as far back as 1891 by John Astley Cooper as ‘a means of increasing goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire’. Twenty years later, in 1911, the Festival of the Empire was held as a celebration of the coronation of George V. The Festival included Inter-Empire Championships in athletics, boxing, wrestling and swimming, and was hosted at Crystal Palace in London.
The games as we know it today weren’t held until 1930 and since then it has been known by many different names:
- 1930-1950 British Empire Games
- 1954-1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games
- 1970-1974 British Commonwealth Games
- 1978-onwards Commonwealth Games
It wasn’t until the Manchester games in 2002 that disability events were fully included in the games, making it the first fully inclusive international multi-sport event. Before this time disability exhibition events were included in the 1994 British Columbia games but these events did not contribute to medal tallies.
In 1962, 1966, 1970 & 1974 disabled athlete were given the opportunity to compete at The Commonwealth Paraplegic Games. It’s not clear why this competition ceased however in 2007 an agreement was signed to secure the inclusion of disability events at the games in the future.
The Glasgow games in 2014 has been described as “the standout games in the history of the movement” by Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper. I actually went on a road trip to Glasgow and watched some of the cycling road race & netball and I can vouch for the fact that the atmosphere and organisation was incredible. Although I’m pretty certain that this year’s games on the Gold Coast of Australia are going to be even better!!!
I’ve heard people suggest that the concept of the games is out-dated and I couldn’t disagree with this more. As one of the only multisport events where able-bodied and disability sport is shown side by side, I feel it should be encourage and continue for as long as possible. It is a fantastic opportunity to get disability sport into the public eye and that can only be a good thing!
If you want to follow the action the BBC will be covering the event and information can be found on the BBC Commonwealth Games webpage. My competition is on 10th April, most likely in the middle of the night UK time so I’ll forgive you if you’re not watching, but I’ll be putting regular updates on my Twitter and Instagram.
Personally I’m excited and completely honoured to get the opportunity to represent England at the Commonwealth Games 😀