Comm Games target top athletes

Chief executive David Grevemberg says the Commonwealth Games Federation is looking at ways to ensure top athletes like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah want to compete at the Games.

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At the Glasgow Games last year, sprint star Bolt was involved in only the 4x100m relay, while long distance champion Farah was a notable absentee.

Grevemberg says there has to be a mechanism that encourages the likes of Bolt and Farah to want to be part of the event.

“You need to create a platform that is relevant,” he told journalists in Auckland.

“One of the mechanisms we are proposing is using different major sporting events to identify the top-level Commonwealth performers and engage them in a meaningful way in relation to direct qualification for the Games.”

He said the engagement should begin not six weeks before the event, but a year or two before, “when they are achieving and being designated as top-level athletes”.

“We can start to court that process towards the Games and get the Games on their trajectory.”

Grevemberg was speaking ahead of the two-day CGF general assembly beginning on Tuesday.

The assembly brings together representatives from 71 nations and territories.

Among items on the agenda is a final briefing from Durban before members vote on the hosting rights for the 2022 Games.

The South African city is the sole candidate after 1978 host Edmonton withdrew.

Grevemberg said many people would have asked about how competitive the process was with only one contender.

“There’s a fantastic advantage that you have with getting to work and focus on one partner,” he said.

“We have worked tirelessly over the last couple of months to ensure that their bid is compliant and moving forward that the general assembly can go with confidence in making a decision.”

Grevemberg said that, if Durban was awarded the 2022 Games, it would be a landmark decision as it would be the first time an international multi-sport Games was staged in the African continent.

The assembly will also discuss a strategic plan titled Transformation 2022, and a new program of compulsory and optional sports.