Why the Commonwealth Games matter

Pat Hornidge Roar Rookie

By Pat Hornidge, Pat Hornidge is a Roar Rookie


36 Have your say

    It has been fashionable for a while to denigrate the Commonwealth Games. They are a minor, pointless competition, it is said. They have no real international importance. I fundamentally disagree.

    The Commonwealth Games are not the Olympics, and they never pretend to be. They are not a fully global event, they serve a very specific purpose.

    For better or worse, the Commonwealth countries are united by a shared history of British colonialism, and a shared history. The Games give the Commonwealth a sense of Unity.

    If you tell the Malawi netball team that the games don’t matter, after they defeated New Zealand, they would disagree.

    If you tell those athletes from smaller nations, who would never have a chance of victory at the Olympics, that the games don’t matter, they would disagree.

    If you tell the para-athletes, who have their chance to compete on the same playing field and in front of the same crowds as the able-bodied athletes that the games don’t matter, they would disagree.

    For an event that is supposed to be substandard, there have been plenty of world records broken – a substandard games would not see that many records broken.

    While not all countries compete, the records set prove that we are still dealing with top athletes.

    These games offer a chance to emerge on the world stage. The number of athletes who have gone onto greater things after winning at the Commonwealth Games is countless.

    The rising performances of the British nations in the Commonwealth Games has been closely associated with the great recent accomplishments of Great Britain at the Olympics. It also allows these nations to express a sporting identity for themselves separate from Great Britain. Look at Wales, for example, these games have shown that they can be successful in sports other than rugby.

    Of course, some aspects need to be amended. Why, for instance, is basketball included as a sport when no real world-class teams or athletes compete – Australia being the only country in the top ten men’s FIBA rankings. It devalues the competition, and gives ammunition to those who classify the games as inferior.

    Compare this with netball, where almost all of the competing teams are the best in the world – which means a victory for teams like Malawi is indeed something to be celebrated. The rugby sevens is similar, where the majority of the best teams in the world are Commonwealth members.

    The exclusion of certain other sports is also strange. To have no sailing or rowing at the games is puzzling, considering their British origins, but since many smaller nations may not compete in these sports it is perhaps understandable.

    The Commonwealth Games aren’t the pinnacle of international sport. They are not the greatest event in the world. But they are a chance to unite nations that at first sight do not have much in common.

    The Commonwealth of Nations has seen better days, but the Commonwealth Games are finding their place in the world, a place that celebrates the achievements of both the large as well as smaller nations – some which can compete on the world stage, others which relish the opportunity this smaller event offers.

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    The Crowd Says (36)

    • April 16th 2018 @ 6:44am
      Bob said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:44am | ! Report

      If they were so great Australia wouldn’t have to host every second games. Waste of tax payer money just so we can beat up on some minnows

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 2:51pm
        Matt H said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

        1982, 2006, 2018 – not every second games. But of course the majority are going to come from England, Australia, Canada as they have the cash. However India and Malaysia have both hosted recent games. compare to the Olympics where after Tokyo in 2020 there were only two decent bids for the next two games, so they have just handed them over.

        As for beating up minnows, we didn’t top the medal table in Glasgow 2014, so it’s not always a walk over. We were exceptional this games and that was also partly due to our dominance over the para events, where the breadth of countries competing is not yet there.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 6:48am
      Kangajets said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:48am | ! Report

      The games at least gave us a chance to be inspired by a legend like Kurt Fearnley

    • April 16th 2018 @ 6:53am
      Onside said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      The positive mood was destroyed by closing ceremony where Chanel 7 did not show
      the athletes,THE STARS, instead overindulged ‘the suits’ who gave TV viewers long
      winded speeches.

      This was topped off by a potpourri of singers from ‘The Gold Coasts Got Talent’ and
      hours of ‘go go dancing’.

      The opening ceremony will be remembered by many customers left stranded in the rain
      who missed the opening entertainment.

      The closing ceremony will likely be remembered by those customers who actually got
      there got there on time , but wished they hadn’t.

      It was dreadful

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 2:53pm
        Matt H said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

        It was awful and I agree with you analysis, except that Channel 7 weren’t at fault for the failure to show the athletes. It’s a shame because the last impression of the Games is probably going to be the one that sticks. However the actual sport was pretty top notch.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 10:13pm
          Scuba said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

          People actually watch closing ceremonies? They’ve been boring since time immemorial, it’s beyond me why anyone would bother.

    • Roar Guru

      April 16th 2018 @ 6:53am
      peeeko said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      it isnt fashionable, its what people truly believe. the shared history is quite different, some countries are predominantly British settlers while some are majority of a people that were brutally used for the might of the British Empire

      you mention that it gives athletes that aren’t competitive at the olympics. well that’s why we have the Asian games, the african games, European championships exist. Malawi netball would get the same experience if they beat NZ in any other netball competition

      the rising British nations you mention shows the continued dominance of rich commonwealth countries over poorer countries that were dominated by the British. Plus why should Wales and Scotland get their own team? they dont at the Olympics, they dont have a seat at the UN and they don’t issue passports. Scotland decided 3 years ago by referendum that they wanted to remain part of Great Britain. So Wales can be competitive if the competition is poor enough?

      So you want to get rid of a world sport like Basketball but keep sports that are commonwealth only and then call them best in the world?

      how many African or caribbean nations have a rowing team?

      how are the games “finding their place in the world”. they are becoming less popular and finding it hard to attain a host. it may appear they are competing on the world stage but they arent. ask anyone in CHina, USA, Brazil or Italy whether they are into the commonwealth games. these athletes can compete at the asian, pan asian, south east asian, south american, pan american and caribbean games. these are big events but dont get any coverage by the jingoistic australian media

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 9:41am
        JamesH said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Lol what? The truth is the truth, whether or not you want to listen to it.

        There’s some degree value in the games. Whether or not it’s enough to justify the cost, the stupidly lopsided competition and the inadvertent celebration of British colonial history is a fair question.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 6:55am
      i miss the force said | April 16th 2018 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      the english invested sailing? i know they were excellent and exploiting and invading other nations and taking all their resources

    • April 16th 2018 @ 7:07am
      Gurudoright said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      It won’t be popular but I like the Commonwealth Games. I like that half way through the Olympic cycle there is another sporting festival that adds colour to the sporting world ( which is free on tv ). I thoroughly enjoyed my day watching the men’s and women’s marathon, then later watching the finals of the rugby 7’s and the netball.
      If nothing else it gives our athletes another major competition to gain experience from to better perform at the Olympics.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 10:07am
        I miss the force said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Like the Asian or pan Pacific games or the World Cup and championships do?

        • April 16th 2018 @ 2:40pm
          Gurudoright said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          Why does it have to be either or? Why can’t they participate in all of them.
          By the way, have we even been invited to participate in the Asian Games?

          • April 17th 2018 @ 6:26am
            i miss the force said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:26am | ! Report

            yes we have.