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53 Commonwealth nations, but 71 teams at Delhi Games

Thursday, September 02, 2010 05:07:14 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Did you know there are 53 Commonwealth countries but 71 teams are participating in the 19th Commonwealth Games here? This is among the many interesting facts on the sporting jamboree that will take place Oct 3-14.

The reason why there are 71 teams is that it is games associations that participate, and some nations have more than one Commonwealth Games Association (CGA).

For example, the four home nations of the United Kingdom - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - send separate teams to the Commonwealth Games while individual teams are also sent from the British Crown dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. This is unlike the Olympic Games where the combined "Great Britain" team represents all four home nations and the Crown dependencies.

Many of the British overseas territories also send their own teams. The Australian external territory of Norfolk Island also sends its own team as do the Cook Islands and Niue, two states in free association with New Zealand.

Other interesting facts:

1. The combined population of Commonwealth countries amounts to 2.1 billion - 30 percent of the world's population - of which 1.2 billion is in India.

2. The first Commonwealth Games were held in Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, in 1930.

3. Among the participating countries 10 are in Europe, 13 in Oceania, 15 in the Caribbean, eight in Asia, six in the Americas and 19 in Africa.

4. Australia is sending 600 athletes and officials - its largest ever contingent in the history of the Games. Scotland has announced 191 athletes will take part in the Games.

5. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) established an award to honour the memory of the late David Dixon who served it for 17 years in the capacity of honorary secretary. The award is presented to an outstanding athlete at the Games and is based on performance, fair play and overall contribution to their team's participation.

6. The inaugural winner in 2002 was Natalie du Toit, a disabled athlete who took four swimming gold medals back home to South Africa. In 2006, the award was presented to Indian shooter Samaresh Jung who won two individual golds in the Men's 10m Air Pistol and Men's 50m Pistol, as well as three team golds, one team silver, and one individual bronze. He also set three new Games records.

7. The team games in Commonwealth were first introduced at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur where nations participated in cricket (50 overs game), hockey (men and women), netball (women) and rugby 7's (men).

8. From the 2014 Games onwards, hockey (men and women), netball (women) and rugby 7's (men) will be obligatory sports on the CGF sports programme.

9. This is the first time tennis will be part of the Commonwealth Games.

10. Archery will be played in the Games for the first time since 1982.





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