As work gathers momentum for next year's Commonwealth Games in Canada, the threatened African boycott loomed up in London this week.
As work gathers momentum for next year's Commonwealth Games in Canada, the threatened African boycott loomed up in London this week. A senior Kenyan sports official said that if there were no breakthrough over New Zealand's sporting links with South Africa at the Commonwealth conference, the boycott of the games would be even tougher than at last year's Montreal Olympics. No African Commonwealth nation took part at Montreal, and the Africans believe that future boycotts would be supported by many anti-apartheid sympathiser. While the war of words continues, the Canadians are pressing ahead with the preparations.
SYNOPSIS: The venue for the Games, the eleventh so far, is the city of Edmonton in Alberta. Edmonton is described as young and dynamic, and the centre of the growing petroleum, chemical and petrochemical industries of the northwest. The city is committed to a considerable building programme, including a multi-use stadium, for the games next August.
It'll be the 50th anniversary of the founding of the event, originated by a Canadian. The celebration will in fact be two years early, since the true date falls between Games, but that's not worrying anyone too much.
The opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field events will be held here at the new stadium, designed to seat 45-thousand spectators. As well as the stadium, Edmonton is building a covered aquatic centre, a velodrome -- or cycle racing centre -- a full shooting range and four lawn bowling greens.
The organising Athletics Committee expects up to 800 competitors, and about 400 officials, and they'll be coming -- they hope -- from more than 40 countries.
The games will include an extra 38th athletics event compared with the Olympics. It's the 3-thousand metres for women and it'll be the first to be held at any world games. The athletics events will be in five categories -- running, jumping, throwing, walking, and combined or multiple events for both men and women.
The new 5-thousand seat aquatic centre includes an eight-lane 50-metre and a 50-metre warming up pool.
The boxing events will be held at the 5,200 seat Edmonton Gardens, next door to the recently constructed Coliseum building, where the gymnastics are to be staged. Gymnastics are to be staged. Gymnastics is the newest addition to the games and 13 nations will be competing.
The new velodrome at Argyll Park will seat about 4-thousand. There'll be six track events, and an endurance road race of up to 120 miles (193 Km). The velodrome will be linked up with a network of bicycle trails through the city's park system.
Whatever happens politically, Edmonton is clearly going flat out to get ready for its big occasion.