Commonwealth Games: Costs may sound the death knell

By David Leggat

What chance another Commonwealth Games being staged in a developing country any time soon?

Precious little, based on the leadup to the New Delhi Games, due to start next Sunday.

Since the Games began in 1930, it has gone under four names - the British Empire Games, which lasted until Auckland in 1950; the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, until Kingston, Jamaica in 1966; the British Commonwealth Games in 1970 and 1974, in Christchurch; and finally the least unwieldy Commonwealth Games, for the last eight editions.

The event itself is in need of similar streamlining if it is to survive much longer. Of the previous 18 Games, Canada and Australia have hosted four, New Zealand three, England and Scotland two each and Wales one. The non-white exceptions were Jamaica and Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

New Zealand's chef de mission Dave Currie, attending his third Games, to go with the last three Olympics, believes they are too bloated. Smart thinking is required to get them back to manageable proportions or the future is bleak.

"It is a dilemma and I can understand the challenge the Commonwealth Games Federation gets into," he said.

"There is a want for Commonwealth countries to share it around on the one hand. On the other, is the ability and resource and wherewithal to do it."

Currie pointed out Auckland's city administrators toyed with the idea of putting their hand up for the 2018 Games before seeing a giant red wall coming their way.

"There has to come readjustments of expectations and realities about what the Commonwealth Games are and how large they have to be," he said.

Currie pointed out that the athletes' village, the source of so much anger and frustration among countries' officials, is far too large for what is required.

So if an African nation, for example, or Caribbean country, or combined countries, were to put their hand up, the event would need a significant downsizing, both in numbers of athletes and events.

Currie believes the future is grim, without some smart thinking.

"My personal view is if the nature and shape and structure is not addressed, I think it's going to get pretty tough. It needs to be got back to some manageable size."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 17 Sep 2014 10:46:21 Processing Time: 451ms