‘Em­brac­ing ev­ery­body’, Com­mon­wealth boss sig­nals Games re­brand­ing

Multi-sports events should shift to medal par­ity be­tween men and women

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

GOLD COAST: Com­mon­wealth Games Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Louise Mar­tin urged all multi-sports tour­na­ments to fol­low its lead and have equal medals for men and women as she in­sisted the com­pe­ti­tion still had a role in the mod­ern era.

Mar­tin said a re­brand­ing ex­er­cise is under way for the Olympic-style event, which started as the Bri­tish Em­pire Games in 1930 but is now keen to stress its pro­mo­tion of “hu­man­ity, equal­ity and destiny”. The just-con­cluded Gold Coast Com­mon­wealth Games in Aus­tralia had medal equal­ity be­tween men and women for the first time and a para­com­pe­ti­tion was in­te­grated into the main pro­gramme.

Asked about the im­age of the Games as a relic from by­gone times, Mar­tin told AFP: “Those who come from that era still think of it like that but now where we are in the mod­ern Com­mon­wealth, we are mov­ing for­ward and we’re em­brac­ing ev­ery­body.

“We’re be­com­ing more rel­e­vant than we’ve ever been be­fore and what we’re try­ing to do is en­sure that ev­ery­body else in the world sees ex­actly what we’re try­ing to do,” she said in an in­ter­view.

“(We pro­mote) our val­ues of hu­man­ity, equal­ity and destiny and en­cour­age ev­ery­body else to do the same.” Mar­tin said other multi-sports events should also shift to medal par­ity be­tween men and women, al­though this year’s Pyeongchang Win­ter Olympics had a record num­ber of women and close to a 50-50 split be­tween the sexes. “Wake up, we’re all in this to­gether,” she said, asked about the im­por­tance of hav­ing an equal num­ber of medals. “I think ev­ery other event should be try­ing to do the same so they have to make the pro­gramme, they have to look at schedul­ing and make sure that the male events don’t dom­i­nate the fe­male events. “So we’ve man­aged it and other sports can do it too.”

We are mov­ing for­ward and we’re em­brac­ing ev­ery­body

DUEL IN THE POOL

The Games also fea­tured their first trans­gen­der ath­lete, New Zealand weightlifter Lau­ren Hub­bard, who was warmly wel­comed by the crowd and also en­dorsed by or­gan­is­ers. “As far as I’m con­cerned we’re fully in­clu­sive,” Mar­tin said.

How­ever, there was also a se­ries of protests by indige­nous ac­tivists who dubbed them the “Stolen­wealth Games”, a ref­er­ence to Britain’s coloni­sa­tion of Aus­tralia. And there ap­peared to be dis­com­fort when English diver Tom Da­ley, who is gay, pointed out that ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity re­mains il­le­gal in 37 Com­mon­wealth coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries.

As part of the re­vamp, Mar­tin said she was also con­sid­er­ing Duel in the Pool-style off­shoots, po­ten­tially lin­ing up the Com­mon­wealth against ma­jor pow­ers in sports such as swim­ming or ath­let­ics. “We’re in the process of talk­ing about these things and yes, we want to take the Com­mon­wealth slightly fur­ther,” she said, tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from swim­ming’s Duel, which pit­ted the United States against Aus­tralia or Europe.

“What we’re try­ing to do is make sure that these ath­letes can get to com­pete against, say, the Amer­i­cas or... one other coun­try that we can have a fan­tas­tic com­pe­ti­tion with, like Duel in the Pool. “Or an ath­let­ics event so that ev­ery­body can see the stan­dard that we have within the om­mon­wealth.”

She added: “When you start to see the ath­letes that have come here and the stan­dard that they are, we can com­pete with any­one any­where. And I think (they would be) fun events.” — AFP

GOLD COAST: New Zealand play­ers per­form the haka af­ter de­feat­ing Fiji in the men’s rugby sev­ens gold medal match at the Robina Sta­dium dur­ing the 2018 Gold Coast Com­mon­wealth Games on the Gold Coast on Sun­day. — AFP

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