The Commonwealth of Nations, better known as the Commonwealth and previously called the British Commonwealth, is an inter-governmental organisation of 54 independent states.
All but two of these countries, Mozambique and Rwanda, were formerly part of the British Empire or have a direct constitutional link with a country which was formerly part of the British Empire.
The admission of Mozambique, in 1995, was a unique occurrence. It recognised Mozambique’s support for the Commonwealth’s policies towards South Africa and Rhodesia during the Apartheid era. Rwanda’s admission was considered an “exceptional circumstance” by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The Commonwealth Games, held every four years, are generally regarded as the Commonwealth’s most visible activity.
Though there are currently 54 members, as many as 71 teams participate in the Games. The four home nations of the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — send separate teams.
Individual teams are also sent from the British Crown dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man (unlike at the Olympic Games, where the combined Great Britain team represents all four home nations and the Crown dependencies). Many of the British overseas territories like Bermuda, Falkland Islands and Gibraltar also send their own teams. The Australian external territory of Norfolk Island also sends its own team, as do the Cook Islands and Niue, two states in free association with New Zealand.
The event was first held in 1930 under the title of the British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The event was renamed as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954, the British Commonwealth Games in 1970, and gained its current title in 1978.
Only six teams have attended all editions: Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. Australia have been the highest achievers for eleven games, England for seven and Canada for one.
Team sports were included for the first time in 1998 Games, in Kuala Lumpur. There are currently three team disciplines: hockey, netball (women only) and rugby 7s.
Scotland’s Willie Wood (bowling) participated in seven Commonwealth Games from 1974 to 2002.
Greg Yelavich, a shooter from New Zealand, won 12 medals in seven editions from 1986 to 2010.
Pakistan and the Commonwealth Games: Pakistan have competed in eleven editions. Pakistan didn’t participate from 1974 to 1986 as the country had pulled out of the Commonwealth in 1972 as the organisation had failed to stop India’s aggression in 1971, which resulted in the dismemberment of East Pakistan. Pakistan rejoined the Commonwealth in 1989.
When Pakistan had their best ever tally, in 1962, seven of the eight gold medals came in wrestling. They finished as high as fourth in the overall medal table in that edition.
In the last edition, in 2010, Pakistan stood 17th among 71 nations. The country clinched five medals: wrestlers Azhar Hussain and Mohammad Inam won gold medals; wrestler Azhar Hussain won a silver medal; and boxers Mohammad Waseem and Haroon Khan captured bronze medals. Azhar won gold in freestyle and silver in Greco-Roman competitions.