Often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’ , the first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada where 11 countries sent 400 athletes to take part in 6 sports and 59 events.
Since then, the Games have been conducted every four years. From 1930 to 1950 the Games were known as the British Empire Games, from 1954 until 1966 the British Empire and Commonwealth Games and from 1970 to 1974 they took on the title of British Commonwealth Games. It was the 1978 Games in Edmonton that saw this unique, world class, multi-sports event change its name to the Commonwealth Games.
Northern Ireland has competed in sixteen of the eighteen Commonwealth Games beginning with the second games, held in 1934. The team did not compete in 1930 (when there was a single team from Ireland) and in 1950. Team Northern Ireland has the distinction of achieving medal success at each and every one. Lawn bowls (Watson & Rosbotham) and athletics (Thelma)
Hopkins) provided the first gold medals for the team in 1954 and lawn bowls and shooting provided silver medals in Melbourne in 2006 and boxing providing 3 gold medals in Delhi 2010 in the -49kg, 69kg and 75kg weight categories.
As one of the home countries in the UK, Northern Ireland is not able to be a member of the Olympic Movement so the Commonwealth Games provides the only opportunity for its athletes to compete representing Northern Ireland at the international level in a multi-sport event.
The participation in the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games is organized by the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC) who are responsible for presenting a team of athletes at each game and promoting sport for the benefit of all.
The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC) is the lead body for Commonwealth Sport in Northern Ireland. The council is representative of those sports recognised by the Commonwealth Games Federation. We currently have 17 affiliated sports which elect a nine person Board.