From April 4-15, 2018, over 70 nations will come together to compete at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. This year’s Games will set a record in the number of para-athletes and medal events offered. Up to 300 para-athletes will be able to compete. Additionally, 38 medals across seven sports will be up for grabs.
This is an increase from the 2014 Games in Glasgow, which at the time saw the most para-sport events in the history of the Games. There were 22 medal events across five different sports.
Compared to 2014, 45 percent more para-athletes will be competing and 73 percent more medals will be offered. This is a key indicator in the Gold Coast’s commitment to equality and inclusion. Further, in addition to the increase in para-athletes, there will be an equal number of men’s and women’s events throughout each sport.
Athletes will compete in athletics, swimming, lawn bowls, powerlifting, track cycling, table tennis and triathlon at this year’s Games.
At the 2014 Games, there were 6 para-swim events. For the upcoming 2018 Games, there will be 10 para-swim events, nearly twice the number from the previous Games. Para-swim events include the men and women’s S9 100m backstroke, the men’s S7 50m freestyle, the women’s SB9 100m breaststroke, the men’s SM8 200m Individual Medley, the men and women’s S9 100m freestyle, the men’s SB8 100m backstroke, the women’s SM10 200m Individual Medley and the women’s S7 50m butterfly.
The Commonwealth Games have been held since 1930, being open to athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations, including countries such as Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom. While there are only 52 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, 70 countries compete in the Commonwealth Games.
The first Games with para-sport events was the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Columbia. Here, they were held as an exhibition, and became fully included at the 2002 Games in Manchester, England.