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Commonwealth Games 2018: England listed as an African nation in Opening Ceremony programme

  • The officials of the Commonwealth Federation were caught on the wrong footing.
Sarah Waris
Modified 04 Apr 2018, 12:31 IST

Team England Athletics Squad Prepare for 2018 Commonwealth Games
Team England Athletics Squad Prepare for 2018 Commonwealth Games

What’s the story?

The 2018 Commonwealth Games began on a wrong footing for the officials after they pointed out their error in listing England as an African nation in the official spectator’s programme that was held during the Opening Ceremony on 4th April.

Chief executive Mark Peters admitted that the mistake had occurred due to the late re-admittance of The Gambia in the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) that enabled them to compete at the Games this year.

The officials in Gold Coast committed a gaffe

In case you didn’t know…

The Gambia withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations five years ago when then-President Yahya Jammeh termed the existence of the forum as a “neo-colonial institution.” The country had not participated in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 due to this reason. It was reinstated back into the Commonwealth last month and The Gambia will see six athletes representing the nation in Gold Coast this month.

The heart of the matter


The spectator’s programme that has a welcome address by The Queen had several incorrect details pertaining to England’s participation in the Games. The country had its capital listed as Banjul, which is The Gambia’s capital. England’s population was stated as 2,051,363 instead of the 66.5 million that was recorded last. In other inaccuracies, the first participation of England in the Games was written down as 1970, when in fact they were one of the few countries to take part in the inaugural edition that was held in 1930 at Hamilton.

While Peters had offered to reprint the programmes list, the amount of work that would have gone into doing just that did not evade him.

“We already had the button ready to push to print and we had to do a lot of fast footwork in terms of accreditation and everything else to allow that to happen. Sometimes you make mistakes and we have copped it,” said Peters.

What’s next?

The English team is fielding 394 competitors in 19 sports in their 21st appearance at the Games. They have never missed out on participating in an edition and won a total of 174 medals, including 58 Golds in the last edition at Glasgow and would be hopeful to replicate the feat this time as well.

Author’s take

The mistake, though avoidable remains just that and the English team would not be sweating over such petty issues ahead of a tough CWG, in which they once again field one of the strongest contingents. With all attention on putting up a grand performance, the athletes will be looking ahead to the Games, casting aside any errors that might have occurred prior to the events. 

Published 04 Apr 2018, 12:31 IST
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