History of Commonwealth Games

History of Commonwealth Games

Earlier known as British Empire Games, Commonwealth Games opened in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada. That year 11 countries namely: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, South Africa, NewZealand, Australia, Newfoundland, Bermuda, British Guiana, and Canada sent 400 athletes to Hamilton for the British Empire Games. Athletics and swimming, featured along with boxing, rowing lawn, bowls, and wrestling. In 1930 Games, the women were allowed to participate in swimming. The first British Empire Games happened in Hamilton because of the great influence of “Bobby” Robinson. Robinson served as the manager of the 1928 Canadian Olympic Track Team in Amsterdam. He was also the founder and first president of the Hamilton Olympic Club as well as the sports editor for the Hamilton. It was while he was on site in Amsterdam, he was awed by the stunning Olympic setting, and the thoughts of hosting a games event of that stature at his home town in Hamilton came across.

Though the concept of “Empire Games” had been around for almost a half century, in fact, the idea existed to a time in the late 19th century even before Pierre de Coubertin came up with the modern version of Olympic Games. The beginnings of the British Empire Games, was thought to be a brainchild of Reverend Astley Cooper who first suggested a “PanBritannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival…every four years as a means of increasing the goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire.” in an article in the Times newspaper in 1891. It was to be another 40 years later however, when the first Commonwealth Games then known as Empire Games took place.

The second British Games were held in London in 1934 and the third ones took place in Sydney in the year 1938. The highlight of 1934 games was that women were allowed to participate in athletics but only in sprints. In 1942 and 1946 the games were disrupted due to Second World War. In 1950 the games were held in Auckland. During 1930 to 1950 the games were known as the “British Empire Games”. From 1950 to 1962 the games were known as “The British Empire and Commonwealth Games”.  This name stuck till 1966 when the Federation met and changed the name to”The British Commonwealth Games”. Then in 1978 the name changed again to its present name “The Commonwealth Games”.

Since 1930, the Commonwealth Games has grown to include athletes from 71 countries. In 2010 Commonwealth Games, which were held in Delhi, a total of 6,081 athletes participated in 260 events across 17 sports.

Antonio Bristow has penned down many write-ups on different types of sport events. Here he gives an insight into Commonwealth Games.

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