Press Release, 12 March 2018: Sports leaders from across the Commonwealth will be encouraged to welcome and approve the reintroduction of The Gambia to the Commonwealth Games Federation at its General Assembly on Australia’s Gold Coast on 31 March. The move – which follows the Commonwealth Secretariat’s announcement on 8 February that the African nation had been reinstated – would see six athletes approved for participation at the upcoming Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE said: “Following The Gambia’s welcome return to the Commonwealth, announced last month, we have raced against the clock to put forward a resolution at our upcoming General Assembly – in line with our Constitution – to approve the nation’s application to re-join the Commonwealth Games Federation. The prospect of The Gambia’s return to the Commonwealth Games is an exciting one and continues the momentum that is currently with the Commonwealth. I urge all our members to carefully consider the proposed resolution and pave the way for Team Gambia to compete on the Gold Coast in just 22 days’ time. To bring The Gambia back into the Commonwealth Games family would be a great achievement at a hugely exciting and significant time for our resurgent Commonwealth.”
The Gambian Government withdrew from the Commonwealth in October 2013, therefore missing the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. However, the nation’s new Prime Minister, Adama Barrow, elected in December 2016, swiftly re-applied to join the voluntary association of nations and territories committed to democracy, development and human rights.
A Gambian team last participated at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, fielding athletes in Athletics, Boxing and Wrestling. Their first and only Games medal was a bronze in High Jump won by Sheikh Tidiane Faye on their very first Games outing in Edinburgh 1970. Gold Coast 2018 would be The Gambia’s 11th Games appearance and, upon approval at the General Assembly, the Gambia National Olympic Committee will act as the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA).
Gambia National Olympic Committee President, Dodou. J. Joof said: “Since the formal announcement from the Government and Commonwealth Secretariat in February, we have been working closely with the Commonwealth Games Federation to explore and approve the participation of Team Gambia at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. We appreciate that it is a last-minute dash, but the opportunity for our athletes to compete at the Games on the world stage on the Gold Coast is just too important to miss. We thank everyone for their support and look forward to a positive decision on 31 March. In the meantime, all our efforts are focused on selecting and preparing six athletes in readiness for competition in Australia”.
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Chairman Peter Beattie said: “GOLDOC is pleased to welcome The Gambia back into the Commonwealth and even more pleased to have a team represented on the Gold Coast in April. The diversity of the Commonwealth is what makes the Games so special, so it is great to have another wonderful African nation competing. In a matter of weeks, we will be welcoming teams into the Athletes Village and I personally look forward to welcoming Gambia’s athletes”.
Commonwealth Games Federation application process
The process for admitting or re-admitting Commonwealth nations or territories to the Commonwealth Games Federation is two-fold. First, “countries must be full members of the Commonwealth, as accepted by the Commonwealth Secretariat” (CGF Articles of Association, Byelaw 8) – a process which involves a formal application and subsequent approval by the Heads of the Commonwealth’s 52 member governments, normally at The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Secondly, once countries have become members of the Commonwealth itself, “the Federation in General Assembly shall consider and, if thought fit, approve applications for affiliation from appropriate sports bodies of Commonwealth Countries” (CGF Articles of Association, Byelaw 8).