Preparing for the Commonwealth Games

Some weeks ago this country established itself as one of the outstanding venues for the hosting of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
The Queen’s Baton bears the official message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II which will be read at the official opening ceremony of the 18th Commonwealth Games scheduled for 15 March 2006 in Melbourne, Australia.
While here Vincentians came out in their numbers to show solidarity with their counterparts in the Commonwealth as the Baton traces its path across all of the member associations of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
At every stop along the way there has been a sense of expectation generated as the member associations desire to participate in the actual Games in Melbourne and to give good account of themselves.
St Vincent and the Grenadines is no exception. The official affiliate of the CGF locally is the National Olympic Committee, recognised as the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) of this nation.
The actual dates of the Games are 15-26 March.
The Quadrennial Games features only members of the Commonwealth, 72 in number. This means therefore that countries that cannot participate in the Olympic Games because they are still colonies of one sort or other are allowed to compete in their own right. Countries like Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and Monsterrat are among the participants.

What sports are involved?
Like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Games, the CGF determines the number of sporting disciplines that can be considered for inclusion on the Commonwealth Games programme. There are currently 16 sports in the Commonwealth Games scheduled for next year. They are: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby 7s, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Triathlon and Weightlifting.
Team sports were included in the general games programme of the CGF since 1998 when the Games were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On that first occasion, the team sports were Cricket, Netball and Rugby 7s. The decision is that no more than three team sports would be included in any edition of the Games, one of which must be Netball.
Each host country can determine which other two team sports it would place on the programme.
Because of the costs associated with team sports, the CGF has determined that it does not want to have every country sending a team to participate in this segment and hence the respective international federations have been involved in the establishment of appropriate criteria to facilitate the selection of a manageable number of teams for an effective and exciting competition in as cost effective a manner as possible.