Sport Australia Chair John Wylie believes the Commonwealth Games has a crucial role in Australia’s present and future international sporting success.
Speaking at Commonwealth Games Australia’s annual general meeting in Melbourne, Wylie said the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games was a great credit to Australian sport’s capacity to host the Games and our athletes provided memories to last a lifetime.
“I deeply love the Commonwealth Games and I think many Australians love the Commonwealth Games as well,” Wylie said.
“One of the things that shines through for me is that the Commonwealth Games are about the spirit of sport. They are about robust competition, fierce competition, but competition that’s in the best spirit of sport and reflects all the right values around sport.”
The Commonwealth Games is a tremendous showcase for emerging talent Wylie said.
“When we look at the Olympic Games and other professional sports we often see a very narrow cohort coming through, but the Commonwealth Games gives the opportunity for a lot of our younger athletes, whose names might not yet be familiar to come through, showcase themselves and become household names. And that’s a great thing and a very important thing for the Australian sports sector.”
“The Commonwealth Games provides the unique opportunity to go into the Games environment, the village environment, with the incredible competitive tension of living in the village and all of that, so in many ways it’s the best preparation an athlete can have for the Olympic Games. For a lot of our athletes, so it serves a very useful and important role.”
And following Australia’s success in topping the medal tally with 80 gold medals on the Gold Coast, Wylie added “And we win lots of gold medals… which is wonderful and our team on the Gold Coast deserve great credit for that.”
Commonwealth Games Australia President Ben Houston presented his first annual report to the membership, and in doing so thanked long serving past President Sam Coffa who was recently awarded honorary life membership of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
The 2019 Commonwealth Games Australia Annual report can be read here
Houston highlighted the significant transformational work done post the Commonwealth Games, to modernise the organisation and have it ready to face the challenges ahead, highlighted by the transition from a representative Board made up of every member sport to an independent skills-based board.
Houston highlighted two areas of the recently updated ‘First Among Equals’ strategic plan, ‘Hosting Great Games’ and ‘Delivering Team Success’.
Houston said, “The benefits of hosting the Games are many – for our athletes, for our sports, and of course for us as an organisation however the benefits of hosting the Games extend well beyond our athletes and sports. The community benefits of hosting the Games are enormous and as reported by the Queensland Government in the post 2018 Games report, research by Griffith University estimated a $2.5 billion boost to the Queensland economy, including a $1.8 billion economic boost to the Gold Coast. And whilst the Gold Coast was the heart of the Games, Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville hosted sporting, trade and cultural events and many regional centres were used as training venues for teams.”
“New and upgraded facilities continue to deliver benefits and are helping Queensland communities to be healthier and more active aided by the 20,000 pieces of sports equipment gifted to schools, councils, sporting organisations and communities across the state. Transport and infrastructure improvements will be enjoyed for decades to come. The legacies are deep and long lasting.”
Commonwealth Games Australia remains committed to bringing the Games back to Australia and will continue to seek appropriate options for a home games in future.
Houston highlighted the preparation for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, highlighted by the appointment of Petria Thomas as Commonwealth Games Australia’s first female Chef de Mission and the $13 million investment in sports and athletes in the lead up to the Birmingham.
Houston congratulated the Australian Institute of Sport and the National Institute Network on the recent release of the National High Performance Sport Strategy 2024 (NHPSS) focusing on “Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games outcomes” in recognition that the performances of Australian athletes at these events are a source of national pride and inspiration.
“Commonwealth Games Australia looks forward to working with system partners to provide our athletes with the support they need to continue to inspire the nation. This support will not only contribute to our goal of remaining the number one nation in the Commonwealth but will undoubtedly contribute to Australia’s success at regional and world championships events in individual sport.
The Annual General Meeting also confirmed the re-appointment of Directors Darryl Clout and Grant Harrison.