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In 2018, Commonwealth Games more relevant than ever with a year of 'firsts'

Australia
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We've witnessed a sea change here on the Gold Coast over the past days.

In a very short space of time, people have seen the Commonwealth Games instigate a palpable shift in public recognition of first nations people and the fair and equal treatment of all citizens. The ability of all citizens to live together.

When people ask me, "What is the relevance of the modern Commonwealth? What is the relevance of the Commonwealth Games?". I have a very clear answer:

The ideals that the Modern Commonwealth seeks to uphold — as outlined in the Commonwealth Charter, subscribed to by 53 countries — are peace, prosperity, good governance and human rights.

Commonwealth Sport, the Games, the athletes and citizens, commemorate and celebrate where we have been, where we are today and the boundless possibilities for the future through impactful performances, inspiring stories and once-in-a-lifetime, world-class experiences that make us all proud.

A year of 'firsts'
I think people will remember the 2018 Commonwealth Games as the "Games of Firsts".

From the equal medal opportunities for men and women for the first time at any international major multi-sport event (133 medal opportunities each); to the very first Reconciliation Action Plan, ensuring recognition of indigenous peoples' rights here in Australia; to the largest-ever fully-integrated para-sport program — we are distinct in the world of sport.

So many nations achieved "firsts" on the Gold Coast:

· Friana Kwevira winning Vanuatu's first ever Commonwealth medal, the bronze in the para-athletics women's F46 javelin

· Taiki Paniani and Aidan Zittersteijn, aged 19 and 20 respectively, claiming bronze in the men's lawn bowls pairs — clinching the first ever medal for the Cook Islands

· Jenly Wini winning weightlifting 58 kilograms gold for the Solomon Islands — a first ever medal for the Solomon Islands at the Commonwealths.

Let's not forget Jamaica's Reggae Rollers making their country's debut on the lawn bowls green at a Commonwealth Games; or Trinidad and Tobago's Michelle-Lee Ahye winning 100m gold — the country's first gold medal in the blue riband event.

Then there have been the numerous Commonwealth and World Records being broken.

It truly has been "the Games of Firsts"; and it speaks to the Commonwealth's and the Commonwealth's Games' renewed relevance on the world stage.

Now more than ever the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Games is a safe place for courageous conversation and bold and brave action.

David Grevemberg is chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Ben Nichols

Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Commonwealth Games Federation

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