The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow came to an end eight days ago but I hope I’m not too late to comment on them. I realise that the majority of people who read this post would have not been interested at all (because Team U.S.A. were not in it) and might have not even been aware that an athletic competition took place this summer. Also, I fully accept the common criticism that the whole occasion lacks the prestige and importance of larger meetings such as the Olympics. However, I would like to especially praise the inclusive nature of the Games, which was on show throughout.
What I mean is that Glasgow 2014 was fully integrated with able-bodied and Para-sport competitions taking place simultaneously during the two weeks of action. This differed from the norm, as there are usually two separate Games. For example, London 2012 had the Olympics and then the Paralympics for disabled athletes a few weeks later. The Paralympics is always great but having it apart from the main event suggests that is merely a sideshow and is therefore less important. The fact it comes after the Olympics shows that it is the poor, unloved sibling.
An implication that thankfully was missing from Glasgow as they opted for an integrated approach. Obviously, it would be grossly unfair for disabled athletes to compete with able-bodied ones because of the physical impairments but just having their competitions on the same night and in the same stadium is such a huge step forward. Ending the ‘athletics apartheid’ sends out a strong message that disabled people are regular members of society too and have similar interests to everyone else. Regardless of disability, all athletes love competing and want to show their talent to the world.
Hopefully, Glasgow sets a precedent for future athletics events (not something you hear regularly)!