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The Commonwealth Games may have a colonial past, but that shouldn't detract from its value today


I don’t think I have ever watched any of the coverage of the 10 or so Commonwealth Games that have been held in my lifetime. Then again, I don’t think I have watched more than the odd race during any of the Olympics either, nor indeed any athletics competition. But I don’t begrudge others enjoying themselves when they settle down at odd hours to watch people they’ve never met run round a track, throw things, and splash around in a pool and all the rest of it.

The Commonwealth Games, in other words, rank alongside the Olympics, the Asian Games, the international athletics festivals and all as a harmless waste of time. The Games is a modern day circus – there to entertain viewers and to make those who take part feel good about themselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

In the case of the Commonwealth Games I’ve heard it said that they have a dreadful colonialist and racist past, and that therefore the whole charade should be peacefully euthanised, perhaps along with the Commonwealth itself.

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