More para-athletes than ever before will participate in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, to be hosted in Queensland, Australia, it was announced earlier today, on Commonwealth Day.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma welcomed the news from the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Gold Coast 2018 organising committee that up to 300 para-athletes will compete in 38 medal events in seven sports.
Mr Sharma said: “The Commonwealth Games have long been known as the 'friendly Games' — and now they earn the well-deserved title of the 'inclusive Games'. I commend the continuing commitment and positive efforts of the Commonwealth Games Federation to ensure the spirit of 'An Inclusive Commonwealth' is carried forward in practical ways.
“Greater opportunity for participation by all advances the transformative potential of sport to empower and embrace all Commonwealth citizens and as a global good,” the Secretary-General stated.
The sports programme for the Games was unveiled at an event in the Queensland capital city of Brisbane attended by Queensland Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Stirling Hinchliffe. He was joined by Australian para-athletes Evan O’Hanlon, Brenden Hall, Madeleine Hogan, Rowan Crothers and Sara Tait.
“Gold Coast is going for gold to deliver an inclusive Games and will host the largest para-sports program in its history,” Mr Hinchliffe said. “We will be setting a new record in Commonwealth Games sporting history hosting up to 300 para-athletes and 38 medal events across seven sports, representing an increase of 45% more athletes and 73% more medals compared to the para-sport competition staged at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“I am also pleased to announce that there will be an equal number of men’s and women’s events across all seven para-sports – a further demonstration of the overarching CGF and GC2018 commitment to equality and inclusion,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
To mark Commonwealth Day, para-athletes are joining the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey and will meet the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty The Queen, at a special reception hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General at Marlborough House, headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The Commonwealth theme for 2016 is ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, in celebration of the diversity of the Commonwealth, which is made up of more than two billion people.
Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE said: “With the largest-ever number of para-sport events in Commonwealth sporting history, we are thrilled that Gold Coast 2018 will deliver an ambitious and welcome growth for the inclusive and integrated para-sport competition first presented at a Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002.
“Today’s announcement to celebrate ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ ensures that the next edition of the Games will enable sports fans in Australia and across the world to support a record-breaking number of para-athletes at a Commonwealth Games”.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be staged from 4-15 April 2018.
Continue reading on the Commonwealth Games Federation website