There is no doubt that these Commonwealth Games in Delhi have been different. For a start the official website listing the USA as part of the Commonwealth, and also the United Kingdom was featured when the home nations compete separately.
Taking nothing away from all of the athlete and their performances – as stated last night on the show we would all be there in a heartbeat if good enough at any event – but the whole event needs to be looked at.
For a start the website issue shows that members of the Commonwealth are not entirely sure who its fellow members are.
The withdrawal of key athletes to allow them to prepare for other events is also detrimental to the event. We suggested last night that there should be some ruling similar to FIFA’s whereby if you are selected by your country, injury aside you must compete. A failure to do so would result in you being banned from the next official event.
We know it is all about money, and now that athletes are professionals and have managers they will go where the dollars are. But if we look at the Australian team they took the games seriously and respected the tradition of the games. Sadly other nations have not. If they are to continue, the history and the tradition has to be respected, and those athletes who choose to ignore that need to be reminded of it.
Again as discussed last night, the Games organizers need to revisit their marketing, to bill them as the Friendship Games is not a good move, as it tends to make it like a school carnival, where winning is not that important, it’s just an excuse to get together.
There is talk that the games should be held every four years at one venue but each nation given the hosting rights. This has merit, as some of the African nations will be hard pushed to build the stadia needed to host the games, so will never have that opportunity. As the mother country, and as they are soon to have state of the art facilities with the London Olympics in 2012 it makes sense that England should host the games, however a rotation between England, Australia, an Asian nation and Canada may be another option to reduce the travel costs of athletes from certain regions. There is undoubtedly merit in these suggestions and it could be a way of giving much needed funds back to the poorer members of the Commonwealth to develop athletes for the future.
Finally, we discussed whether so many sports have a place at the Commonwealth Games? Should they go back to the basics? The founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin made the following statement around 100 years ago after the 1908 London Olympics and with the 1912 games in Stockholm on the horizon.
“The next Olympiads must not have such character, they must not be so comprehensive. There was altogether too much in London. The games must be kept purely athletic; they must be more dignified, more discreet, more in accordance with classic and artistic requirements.”
He certainly has a point one hundred years later with the Commonwealth games.