The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event which is held every four years and features competitions involving thousands of elite athletes from members of the Commonwealth of Nations.
As well as many Olympic sports, the Games also include some sports that are played mainly in Commonwealth countries, such as lawn bowls, rugby sevens and netball. The Games are overseen by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), which also controls the sporting programme and selects the host cities. The host city is selected from across the Commonwealth, with eighteen cities in seven countries having hosted it.
The event was first held in 1930 under the title of the British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The event was renamed as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954, the British Commonwealth Games in 1970, and gained its current title in 1978. Only six teams have attended every Commonwealth Games: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. Australia has been the highest achieving team for ten games, England for seven and Canada for one.
There are currently 54 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and 71 teams participate in the Games. The four Home Nations of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – send separate teams to the Commonwealth Games, and individual teams are also sent from the British Crown dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man (unlike at the Olympic Games, where the combined “Great Britain” team represents all four home nations and the Crown dependencies). Many of the British overseas territories also send their own teams. The Australian external territory of Norfolk Island also sends its own team, as do the Cook Islands and Niue, two states in free association with New Zealand. It has been reported that Tokelau, another dependency of New Zealand will be sending a team to the 2010 Games in New Delhi, India.
The most recent games were in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. The next edition will be held in 2010 in New Delhi, India, from October 3 to 14.