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Commonwealth sport continues to ‘grow and develop'

20 April 2018

The success of the Gold Coast Games that ended last week, and the four-year journey to the next, in Birmingham in 2022, were celebrated at a sports breakfast in London this morning.

Attended by sporting stars past and present, royalty, Commonwealth leaders and sport federation members, they heard how Commonwealth sport continues to grow and develop.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland also met with guests over breakfast before travelling to Windsor for the Commonwealth Summit Leaders’ Retreat.

HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, welcomed guests, by saying; “I am an enthusiastic and passionate supporter of Commonwealth sport and am pleased the sporting programme continues to grow and develop within the Commonwealth.

“I would like to add my thanks and appreciation - not just to Australia for a fantastic Commonwealth Games recently - but also all our Commonwealth Games Associations, athletes and everybody else who are so critical to delivering those sports and making it such a spectacle.”

He introduced Louise Martin, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, also a former international swimmer for Scotland. She said: “I am delighted to be here and share some inspirational sporting moments from the Gold coast, where a record number of countries competed.”

In Australia, 42 out of the 71 nations shared the medals, five for the first time.

Addressing equality in sport she said: “We saw a huge increase in the percentage of male technical officials preceding over diving, netball and artistic gymnastics. Equality works both ways and I think we have set the gold standard for focussing on gender parity in sport.”

Referring to the 2017 Common Youth Games, in The Bahamas, she said: “These games inspired young athletes to unlock their own potential and aspire to reach their goals. Some of these athletes also made their debut in the Gold Coast which demonstrates the pathway that exists as Commonwealth athletes.”

UK Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport Matt Hancock welcomed two stars of England’s winning netball team to the breakfast.

He congratulated Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Kadeen Corbin for their last-second success over Australia, and revealed he was off to play a demonstration game with them after the meeting – “the first time in over 20 years I have played netball since playing for our mixed college team”.

He concluded the breakfast by saying: “Sport is a social good, it brings people together, it can improve physical and mental health, it provides valuable leadership skills and it promotes social integration. It is an important way to promote equality by providing role models from under- represented groups.

“We need to make sure sport is open to all which is why I want to underline the need  to maintain this focus of casting aside barriers to take part in sports that we love.”