Letter: Commonwealth Games: so the competition isn't great, but the fun is

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The Independent Online
Sir: Mark Lawson ('Time's up for the Games', 26 August) suggests that the Commonwealth Games lack prestige in terms of athletic performance and writes that Linford Christie's win in the 100 metres was meaningless. Meaningless to who?

I can accept that the competition is not on a par with performances in the European and World Championships and Olympic Games. This is hardly surprising but the bottom line is that the Commonwealth Games offer sportsmen and women from countries with few top-class athletes an opportunity to compete against the world's best on a level stage. Of course, the performances are comparative, but the expressions of unmitigated joy and, in some cases, disappointment, confirm the status with which these games are held by the participants.

For the majority of athletes, the raison d'etre for competing in the Commonwealth Games is not so much the winning but the sharing of an experience and competing at a level which most of us would never hope to achieve. Why cannot he accept the Games for what they are - the 'Friendly Games'?

Yours sincerely,


Hardwick, Cambridgeshire

26 August