Durban to host 2022 Commonwealth Games
Durban's bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games has been successful. On 3 September, the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly in Auckland announced that Durban would host the 2022 games. Durban will create history by being the first African city to host the games. The 22nd edition of the games is slated to begin on the 18 July 2022, Nelson Mandela's 104th birthday.
Sports: Bringing together nations
The idea that all the Commonwealth nations could engage in one sporting event had been in people's minds since the 1800s. In 1911,the predecessor of what would eventually be the Commonwealth Games was held; it was called the 'Festival of Empire' and marked the coronation of King George V. Australia, Canada, SA and UK competed in games like swimming, boxing, wrestling and athletics.
Bringing together the Commonwealth
In 1930, Canadian sporting legend Bobby Robinson brought to fruition the idea that had been around for a while. The first Commonwealth Games, then called the British Empire Games, were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada. The city of Hamilton provided over $30,000 to fund the travelling costs of the participants. 400 participants from 11 countries came together to take part in these games.
Knowing the Commonwealth
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association formed by 53 countries, all of which were at one point under British rule. The 1949 London Declaration designated King George VI as Head of the Commonwealth; since then, the British monarch has held that position.
What's in a name?
The games have been held regularly since inception, interrupted only during the war. They have seen several name changes; from 1930- 1950, they were called the British Empire Games. From 1954- 1966, they were known as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games; from 1970- 1974, they were called the British Commonwealth Games. In 1978, the Edmonton edition finally came to be called Commonwealth Games.
Games now appreciate team efforts as well
The games have traditionally had only single participant events; the first games had 6 sports and 59 events. It was only at the 1998 Kuala Lampur edition, the first games hosted in Asia, that team events were introduced. Since then, the games have featured events like cricket, hockey (both men's and women's), rugby 7s and netball. Basketball was introduced at the 2006 Melbourne Games.
Queen's baton relay- a trip around the world
The 2006 Melbourne games achieved a historical feat by being the first to have a Queen's Baton relay that visited every single Commonwealth nation and territory taking part in the Games. This journey of 180,000 kms ended with then Olympic great Herb Elliott, who entered the stadium with the baton. The baton was consequently presented to Queen Elizabeth II by the Governor of Victoria.
All geared up for 2022
Durban won the bid after becoming the only candidate; Edmonton had withdrawn in February, citing financial reasons. It promises to deliver a world-class event, having set aside a budget of 6.4 billion rand. Preparations are almost done; an athletics village and a shooting-range remain to be built. An athletics-track will be installed at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, erected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.