Sports Letter: Much more than Games

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Sir: Your correspondent Duncan Mackay's article on the Commonwealth Games (Independent, 18 August) cannot be passed over without comment. Mr Mackay is among those Commonwealth Games commentators who appreciate the value of this unique gathering of friendly nations but when he asserts that the Games 'remain the only real manifestation of the Commonwealth, aside from the odd political conference', he argues against himself.

Mr Mackay notes the return of South Africa to the Games after a 36-year absence and after ridding itself of apartheid. The Commonwealth was at the forefront of opposition that helped destroy apartheid. Such unity of purpose was not fashioned from 'the odd political conference' but from a sense of justice and humanity.

The Commonwealth's 31 member countries hold a quarter of the world's population and cover every continent and every ocean. Through the Commonwealth Secretariat, hundreds of experts use their skills to assist in the development of member countries.

The 'real manifestation' of the Commonwealth therefore is that, far from 'being consigned to the history books', it is a thriving, purposeful family of nations.



Assistant Director

Information & Public Affairs

Commonwealth Secretariat