President's New Year Message
It is only a few months since we all enjoyed a sunny and spectacular 11 days of sensational sport at Gold Coast 2018. More countries won medals than ever before; more World and Commonwealth records were broken; and five different countries won their first ever Commonwealth medal - British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. An excellent achievement!
Together, we christened Gold Coast 2018 the “Games of Firsts”. The Games that will have a lasting positive change on our sports movement. The entire Commonwealth Sports Family can be proud of these achievements and I’m happy to say that – during the course of many interactions at CHOGM and beyond throughout 2018 - our collective achievements have been well recognised.
Championing positive change is very much at the heart of what we do. Many athletes I met throughout the Games talked passionately about their responsibilities as role models and agents of change, having been inspired by Commonwealth sporting heroes as young people; and now, finding themselves in the unique position of being able to impact on the lives of young, aspiring athletes.
On the 15th April, I passed the Commonwealth Games Federation flag to Birmingham, England - the Commonwealth Games host city for 2022. I’ve no doubt that they too, will nurture and inspire our Movement – bringing people together in one of the youngest, most diverse cities in Europe.
With its rich history, cultural diversity, youthful dynamism and ambitious spirit, Birmingham in many ways embodies all that we cherish about the Commonwealth. Every Commonwealth nationality has a home in Birmingham and with 148 different languages spoken, it is a very diverse and culturally rich city. The countdown has now truly begun, with the first CGA relations staff coming on board in early 2019. If you haven’t had the opportunity to do so already – I recommend you take a moment to watch their new promotional film below which was launched recently.
As I reflect on our trajectory from Glasgow 2014 to Gold Coast 2018, and now on to Birmingham 2022 and beyond, I feel enormously proud and excited. There is no question that the landscape of sport, and indeed the Commonwealth, is changing. We have had a packed programme of events: two Games and two Youth Games in the last four-year cycle; and as Commonwealth sporting leaders you have supported and guided us every step of the way.
2019 is an incredibly important year to build on this experience and these successes. We are at a crucial crossroads – where we review and renew our strategic plan, Transformation 2022; where the community benefits of mega-sporting events are top of the agenda; where the rights of athletes, young people and marginalised groups are being widely discussed, debated and championed in different ways.
As I look forward to the year ahead, I feel inspired by the role we can all play, and the responsibilities we uphold, as custodians of sport. I feel passionate about our commitments to our athletes and their communities, and to the young Commonwealth citizens that look to sport for hope and inspiration. Together, I know we - as the Commonwealth Sports Family - are committed to uphold the highest standards of respect for human dignity and achieve peace, sustainability and prosperity throughout our Commonwealth.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the CGF Executive Board members and the entire CGF Management Team for their commitment and hard work over the past quadrennial. We have come a long way and we are ready to face the challenges and harness the opportunities that lie ahead of us.
With every good wish for 2019,
Yours in Commonwealth Sport,