The Gold Coast of Australia, famous for its beaches flocked with tourists, is about to see even more visitors from the 4th-15th of April, in the 21st iteration of the games, as it anticipates the beginning of the Commonwealth Games. Seventy teams from fifty-three nations shall descend upon the city, just south of Brisbane, as well as thousands of travelling supporters.
The games themselves date back to 1930, having taken place every four years, only being interrupted due to World War Two; with many symbolic gestures that are akin to its parent competition the Olympics. One obvious similarity would be the Queen’s Baton, which is effectively the Commonwealth’s Olympic torch, the relay typically begins in Buckingham Palace and from there goes to the host nation carrying a message from the Queen. The relay is sometimes adapted to have a touch of the hosts culture, such as in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games where it was carried in by an elephant. However, the games do vary as they have a slight twist of including sports played predominantly in the Commonwealth, varying from netball to lawn bowls! The games are often seen as a celebration of unity between previous colonies or dominions of the British empire, with the opportunity of injecting capital and tourism also presented via hosting the games.
Britain will be looking forward to these games especially as they hope to come away with another strong victory, having topped the medal charts last time by an impressive thirty-seven medals in the 2014 Scotland Commonwealth Games. Britain will be sending seventy-five athletes to partake in the games, the largest number ever sent, including the likes of Greg Rutherford (previous Olympic gold and bronze long jumper). Meanwhile Australia will be the most likely to challenge Britain, with this year’s hosts having come in second in the previous 2014 games.
Interestingly it is Australia who hold the best record in the Commonwealth games, having won on twelve separate occasions; and England is quite far behind on seven, with the closed nation after that being Canada, with only one win.
Following the 2018 games it will then return to Britain in 2022, when they shall be based in Birmingham, with the original destination of Durban having to withdraw due to economic restraints- the estimated cost of hosting the games is set at around eleven billion US dollars (based on the 2010 Delhi games). Nevertheless, many are citing the games to be a fantastic opportunity to further build bridges amongst the commonwealth in a potentially fragile period for Britain following the Brexit transition.