Commonwealth Games holding nations together say competition organisers

·2-min read
The President of the Commonwealth Games Federation believes the competition has never borne greater significance (AAPIMAGE via Reuters Connect)

By Tom Harle in Birmingham

The fragile Commonwealth of Nations is being prevented from further collapse by its multi-sport Games, according to organisers.

Barbados removed the Queen as Head of State last year and Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda are mulling doing the same.

More than half of Canadians polled in 2021 said they did not want the country to continue to be a constitutional monarchy.

Into that climate comes the XXII Commonwealth Games, battling for a postcolonial identity and relevance even in the sporting calendar.

“We are one family,” insisted Dame Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

“Our 72 nations, we all speak the same languages. We’re all in this together. If you go into the Village and see the athletes together, it’s family, that’s how we speak and how we see each other.

“I find it strange. Some people talk about colonialism, all the different breakdowns. Yes, people want independence but people still want to be a part of the Commonwealth Games.

“We’re unique because we’re holding everyone together.”

Every athlete and official arriving in Birmingham have undergone airport tests for Covid-19 with 3% coming back positive.

Organisers are paying close attention to the fluctuating CT values of positive cases with exemptions in place for them to continue to train.

Games CEO Ian Reid said: “It’s a balance between delivering a safe Games and reflecting the climate around Covid in Britain. The number of positives is low.”

Homosexuality is outlawed in half of the 72 competing nations, a reality exposed by the continued activism of diver Tom Daley.

Daley represented the Pride movement at the Opening Ceremony and is working with the CGF’s Pride Network on an ongoing basis.

“We can’t change the rules in countries,” Sadlier said.” But we’re working with Tom and we can create opportunities for people to discuss issues in a safe environment.

“Whenever we’re given the opportunity to talk about our values, we do that. I can’t change the laws, I can help people talk about the challenges they face.”

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