Commonwealth Games or simply CWG is a multisport event that involves the participation of commonwealth nations. Commonwealth Nations are none other than the nations which had been under British rule. The inaugural CWG was held in 1930 and has been conducted every four years. 1942 and 1946 are the only two occasions where the CWG could not take place. This mega sports event is also called Friendly Games. We are just a few days away from the 22nd edition of the event which will be hosted by Birmingham, England. In this blog, you will get several interesting facts about Commonwealth Games that will definitely amaze you.
25 amazing facts about the Commonwealth Games
- It should be noted that the Commonwealth Games commenced in 1930. That’s when many countries were fighting for independence against the British. On the political front, people were aggressive toward independence, and on the other hand, these countries’ participated independently in the Commonwealth Games in 1930.
- Over the course of time, the names of these games changed quite a few times. The very first name was ‘British Empire Games’. The name changed to ‘British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954. Fast-forward to 16 years, the name again changed and it was now ‘British Commonwealth Games’. In 1978, the name again changed to the current name i.e. ‘Commonwealth Games or CWG. From 1978 onwards, the CWG started to have a mascot.
- The nations which do not participate separately in the Olympic games have permission to take part in CWG under their flag. Although 54 nations were under British Rule, the actual participation number counts as 72.
- Incredibly, Australia has hosted the CWG five times. Hosting such a big event regularly proves Australia’s robust sporting culture. While Auckland (New Zealand) and Edinburgh (Scotland) had the privilege to host it twice.
- The Commonwealth Games are the only international platform for British athletes to represent their home nations of England, Scotland, and Wales.
- Out of 72 countries, which is the current number of participants, only 6 nations have participated in all the editions. These countries are Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales.
- The United States was under British Rule, but they do not take part in the Commonwealth Games.
- The youngest gold medalist in CWG history was just 13 years old. Unbelievable, isn’t it? Such incredible things do happen in this event. The record-holder is Australian swimmer Jenny Turrell and to date, no one has surpassed this number.
- Another Aussie sits at the extreme end in terms of age. 61 years, Dorothy Roche won gold in lawn bowling at the 1990 Games in Auckland. Surreal but true as this man is quintessential for the statement ‘Age is just a number. At least for Dorothy, 61 was a mere number.
- In the very first CWG, only 11 nations participated. Almost 100 years later, in 2022, 72 countries will take part and the total number of athletes will go beyond 4400.
- In the all-time medal tally, Australia sits right at the top with 932 gold, 774 silver, and 709 bronze which counts to a massive 2415 medals.
- India ranks at number 4 in the all-time medal tally with 503 medals. This comprises 181 gold, 173 silver, and 149 bronze.
- India’s first Commonwealth Games medal was bagged by wrestler Rashid Anwar in 1934.
- India won its first Commonwealth Games gold medal in 1958 when Milkha Singh has crowned the 440-yard run champion.
- Delhi won the hosting rights in 2010 by a voting score of 46-22 against Hamilton, Canada.
- The city of Pune hosted the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008 – two years before India hosted the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
- Remember the Bheem of B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat? Bheem who had been portrayed by Praveen Kumar won a silver medal for India in the men’s hammer throw at the 1966 Commonwealth Games.
- India has always finished in the top 5 of the overall standings starting from the 2002 edition.
- Ranjith Kumar became the first Indian para-athlete to win a Commonwealth Games medal when he bagged bronze in the discus throw during the 2006 Melbourne Games.
- Jaspal Rana from Uttarakhand, India has won a whopping 15 medals in shooting sport in the Commonwealth Games. That is some achievement!
- The Commonwealth Games also have winter games, youth games, and games for specially-abled players.
- The Queen’s baton relay, an opening tradition of the games, sees the Queen’s Baton carried for 190,000 km, that’s the equivalent of going around the earth almost 4.25 times.
- Nauruan weightlifter Marcus Stephen won 12 medals in the CWG and 7 of them were gold. Amazingly, this man became the President of Nauru. The Republic of Nauru is the 3rd smallest country in the world with an area of 21 square kilometers.
- Lawn Bowls is the only sport on the Commonwealth Games program, which is not an Olympic event.
- The first-time team sports were played at the Commonwealth Games was in 1998, when Cricket, Men’s and Women’s Hockey, Netball, and Rugby 7’s were added to the program.
- The Commonwealth Games 2022 will be marked in the history book for a special reason. For the first time in global multi-sport history, there will be more women’s events than men’s, with 136 medal opportunities for women vs 134 for men.
- The 2022 CWG mascot Perry the bull was designed by 10-year-old Emma Lou.
These are some of the funny and amazing facts about the Commonwealth Games. As far as India is concerned, this event is of great importance as it gives athletes the hands-on experience of playing on the world stage. Though India had some good performances in the recent Olympics, to reach the level of sheer dominance, doing well in CWG is the first step.
So let’s cheer our Indian players for the Commonwealth Games 2022, Birmingham, England.