Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Formula One 2014: Complete schedule, standings, driver info
Cameroonís Petit David Minkoumba attempts a lift during the menís 77kg weightlifting clean and jerk at the Commonwealth Games.
Cameroonís Petit David Minkoumba attempts a lift during the menís 77kg weightlifting clean and jerk at the Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Games have multicultural feel

Recent additions Cameroon, Mozambique and Rwanda are the three most obvious examples of that in New Delhi.

Not every country at the Commonwealth Games is a clear choice for inclusion at the event, and recent additions Cameroon, Mozambique and Rwanda are the three most obvious examples of that in New Delhi. 

But they are here, competing at the Olympic-style games along with England, Australia, Canada and dozens of other countries and territories from every inhabited continent on the planet.

"It's strange that we are part of it. But remember, we are surrounded by Commonwealth nations, that's why we became Commonwealth," Natarcia Remane, the Mozambique chef de mission, said with a smile. "We had to become one." Mozambique is a former Portuguese colony that gained independence in 1975. It joined the Commonwealth in 1996, in part to foster closer ties with its Anglophone neighbours and also to broaden its international profile.

Cameroon joined the community shortly after that, but it has a history of closer ties to Britain. A portion of the west African nation was run by the British following the expulsion of German rule after the First World War. The rest of the country was under French rule until the early 1960s, when they both gained independence and united into one country. "We feel integrated," Yakana Boade Lucien, the Cameroon team doctor, said of the French and English factions that make up the country. "The two official languages are French and English. When you go to school, you are obliged to speak both."

Rwanda was also under German occupation until the end of the First World War. Control was then given over to Belgium by the League of Nations and the country became independent in 1962. Rwanda, whose people speak the local Bantu language as well as French and English, joined the Commonwealth in 2009. The varied backgrounds and languages spoken in those countries does not seem to mean anything to athletes competing in New Delhi, however.

"Because there's less of an association with the British, when you're out here you don't even consider the empire," Emma Batten, the Welsh field hockey player, said. "You don't notice [different languages] at all. It's not strange to me at all." Although English has been the predominant language since the first Commonwealth Games - then known as the British Empire Games - in 1930, many of the 71 countries and territories at the 2010 event speak a variety of languages. That makes it even easier to forget that the Games were originally for British subjects.

"There's lots of different countries," Emily Quarton, the Canadian weightlifter, said. "People here [in India] don't necessarily speak English as a first language." But the lack of English can create a gulf when such a majority of the participants at the Commonwealth Games use it as a common language. "It was only a few years ago that we started to feel the need to speak English," Remane said of Mozambique. "Some of our athletes and coaches still don't speak English, so it's hard to feel a part of it [the Commonwealth]."

However, Monica Bernardo, the Mozambique swimmer, said competing at the Games is good for both her career and her geography. "It doesn't feel weird, but it's weird that there are a lot of other countries we never heard about," Bernardo said. "It's cool that we're affiliated with all these other countries. It'll help us get experience." 

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 UAE rugby player Adam Telford, right, catches the ball during a Test match against Singapore at The Sevens ground in Dubai on Wednesday. UAE lost the Asian 5 Nations match 30-13 to be relegated to the third tier of Asian rugby. Sarah Dea / The National / April 23, 2014

In pictures: UAE rugby in action against Singapore

Images from the Asian Five Nations Test for UAE rugby against Singapore on Wednesday night at The Sevens ground in Dubai.

 Ravindra Jadeja of Chennai Super Kings playing a shot in their Indian Premier League win over Rajasthan Royals at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. Jadeja scored 36 runs not out from 33 balls. Pawan Singh / The National / April 23, 2014

In pictures: Chennai Super Kings notch win behind do-everything Jadeja

Images from Wednesday night's Indian Premier League match in Dubai, where Ravindra Jadeja led Chennai Super Kings over Rajasthan Royals.

 Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates scoring the opening goal in the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday in Madrid, Spain. Martin Rose / Bongarts / Getty Images / April 23, 2014

In pictures: Benzema propels Real Madrid over Bayern Munich

Images from Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final first leg match at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

 Chris Gayle has been the most feared batsman in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up since he joined the team in 2011. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Parthiv continues to fill Gayle’s big shoes for Bangalore

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman will continue to open the innings for Royal Challengers with the West Indian still nursing his bad back, writes Paul Radley.

 Dana Shamlawi pulls a 4x4 car during the final day of the UAE Strongman Competition in Dubai. Delores Johnson / The National

UAE Strongman Competition takes weight training to a whole new scale

Two-day competition in Dubai attracts men and women from across the Emirates and proves it takes more than just bulky muscles to win, writes Ali Khaled.

 UAE’s Charlie Sargent tries to avoid a tackle by Singapore team members during the one-off Division 1 Test at The Sevens. The Singapore-born winger was making his debut. Sarah Dea / The National

Asian Five Nations: UAE go into rebuilding mode in Division 2

With a new look squad, including five emerging Emirati players, the UAE will hope to restructure and get into the winning habit in more forgiving climes when they drop a level in the revamped competition next season.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National