Commonwealth Games is just around the corner, always a slightly incongruous piece of the sporting calendar but nevertheless a significant one with some of the world’s leading athletes on show, including Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, South African Olympic middle-distance runner Caster Semenya and British swimmer Adam Peaty.
This is the 21st edition of the Commonwealths and the fifth time Australia have played host – by far the most successful nation with 473 gold medals (England are second with 394) – having beaten Sri Lanka in the bidding process.
Here is everything you need to know, and a few bits you probably don’t.
Firstly, what is the Commonwealth?
Good question. The Commonwealth is an organisation made up of 53 nations, most of which were at some stage part of the British Empire – the Queen remains head of 16 of its member states. While it is a relic of a bygone era, it is also said to be a symbol of the new order, with its 1949 declaration stating that all member states should be “free and equal”.
The member states are loosely bound by the Commonwealth Charter, which promotes shared values of democracy, human rights, tolerance, peace, freedom of expression, separation of powers, rule of law and much more. Some say the Commonwealth’s informal status creates a positive environment for international relations, others say the whole idea is irrelevant and antiquated. As ever, it’s probably a little from both columns.
Where are the 2018 Commonwealth Games?
The Games take place in Gold Coast, the second largest city in Queensland after Brisbane. It is known for its beaches, surf and sunshine, and is a popular tourist destination with a vibrant nightlife and theme parks like Sea World.
When are the Games?
They begin on Wednesday 4 April, when the opening ceremony takes place at the Carrara Stadium, and close on Sunday 15 April.
Almost all of the Games will take place in Gold Coast. Carrara Stadium, usually used for Aussie rules, will host athletics and of the other 16 listed venues, 12 are in the city. Basketball preliminaries will take place further north in Cairns and Townsville, while track cycling will be held in the velodrome in neighbouring Brisbane.
There are 23 sports, from staples like athletics to debuts for women’s rugby sevens and beach volleyball. There are also several para-sports incorporated into the Games including para-powerlifting.
There are 71 nations and territories competing, from host nation Australia to the tiny Pacific island of Niue with a population of less than 2,000 people.
How will Team GB fare?
It won’t, as Great Britain is split into different nations for the Commonwealth Games, including England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.
Motto? Logo? Mascot?
The motto is a fairly wishy washy ‘share the dream’, the logo is a vibrant and colourful image which supposedly captures the Gold Coast’s iconic skyline, though it is not simple to decipher. The mascot is a koala named Borobi, the Aboriginal term for koala bear. He’s sea blue, smiley, and his ears are made out of four surfboards.>