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The 2006 Commonwealth Games, officially the XVIII Commonwealth Games, were held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia between 15 and 26 March 2006. It was the largest sporting event to be staged in Melbourne, eclipsing the 1956 Summer Olympics in terms of the number of teams competing, athletes competing, and events being held.

XVIII Commonwealth Games
2006 Commonwealth Games Logo.svg
Host city Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Motto United by the moment
Nations participating 71[1]
Athletes participating Approximately 4,500
Events 245 in 17 sports
Opening ceremony 15 March
Closing ceremony 26 March
Officially opened by Elizabeth II
Officially closed by Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Athlete's Oath Adam Pine
Queen's Baton Final Runner John Landy
Main venue Melbourne Cricket Ground

The site for the opening and closing ceremonies was the Melbourne Cricket Ground which was also used during Melbourne's 1956 Olympic Games. The mascot for the games was Karak, a red-tailed black cockatoo (a threatened species).[2] For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth Games the Queen's Baton visited every single Commonwealth nation and territory taking part in the Games, a journey of 180,000 km (112,500 miles). The relay ended when the Governor of Victoria, and former Commonwealth Games medallist, John Landy delivered the baton to Her Majesty the Queen at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the opening ceremony.



The Queen's Baton Relay


During the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, two cities initially expressed interest in hosting the event; Melbourne and Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington withdrew its bid, citing the costs involved with matching the bid plan presented by Melbourne, which became the default host without members of the Federation going to vote.[3][4]


Early concerns arose about the large cost of staging the Games, with projected costs likely to be over 1 billion Australian dollars and a high likelihood the Victorian taxpayer would have to cover the expense. The cost was described in some local media as excessive. National Party leader Peter Ryan said that the Labor government should win "gold (medal) for burning money" [3] However, not all of this money was wasted. The actual costs for hosting the games was 1.144 billion dollars & prior to the Games, accountants at KPMG were estimating that the gross income generated by this event could be as high as 1.5 billion dollars.


Melbourne's premier sporting ground, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), was redeveloped in preparation for the Games. An athlete's village in the inner suburb of Parkville housed approximately 7,000 athletes and support staff during the Games, and has been transformed into commercial housing with a distinctly eco-friendly image. The creation of this village attracted controversy, with critics claiming it was created by alienating public parkland, while proponents maintained that it represented the renewal of an otherwise derelict inner-city area.[5]

The change from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time in Australian states that follow it was delayed from 26 March to 2 April for 2006 to avoid affecting the games. In addition, state and private schools amended their usual term times so as to allow the first term holidays to coincide with the Games.[6]

Melbourne's public transport system – train, tram and bus – ran to altered timetables with some amended or substituted services for the duration of the Games. For the most part, timetabled services were unchanged but suffered due to higher loads.[7]

For the first time ever, the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games appointed a Goodwill Partner, Plan International Australia.[8]


The following venues were used at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The sport(s) that were played at that venue are listed after it.

Melbourne venuesEdit

Regional and suburban venuesEdit

Ballarat Minerdome: Basketball
Bendigo Stadium: Basketball
Wellsford Rifle Range: Full Bore Shooting
Geelong Arena: Basketball
Lysterfield Park
State Mountain Bike Course: Mountain Bike Cycling
Traralgon Sports Stadium: Basketball
Opening ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games at Melbourne, Australia.


    Qantas Airlines showcasing the logo of the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
    The host broadcaster was Trans World International, while the domestic rights-holding broadcaster was the Nine Network in Australia. They showed rolling coverage, except for a break for the evening news and overnight.
  • In Australia Fox Sports broadcast the Games on eight dedicated digital Pay-TV channels. These were available on the Foxtel, Austar and Optus Vision networks.
  • The BBC covered the Commonwealth Games in the UK on BBC One and BBC Two. BBCi included a choice of two extra video streams on Freeview and four streams on Digital Satellite and Cable [4]. Users with broadband in the UK could also view all 5 video streams on, and the BBC Sport website.
  • CBC, CBC Newsworld, and CBC Country Canada aired a daily one-hour highlights show of the Commonwealth Games in Canada. Compared to past games, the CBC's coverage was minimally staffed, with commentary from other broadcasting partners. At first, they did not even consider bidding for the broadcasting rights [5] due to scheduling conflicts with events Canadians are more interested in, such as the Tim Hortons Brier, World Figure Skating Championships, and the 2006 Winter Paralympics (which itself had been reduced to five-to-ten-minute daily coverage). None of Canada's metropolitan newspapers sent any journalists to report on the Games, instead relying on news agencies
  • TVNZ covered the games for the residents of New Zealand
  • In Malaysia, TV1 broadcast live coverage of the Games for three hours starting at 10 am Malaysian time and for two hours starting at 3 pm, with highlights at 12:30 am. Satellite provider Astro included three dedicated channels to broadcast the Games live to its Sports package subscribers, in addition to delayed broadcast 24 hours later.
  • Singapore's MediaCorp TV had supposedly not broadcast the games due to the high cost of telecast rights, satellite charges and the lack of sponsors. However, on 17 March, the MediaCorp found other sponsors which is the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and the Singapore Sports Council. Broadcast started from 18 March till the end of the games. [6]
  • In the United States, selected coverage was carried by Fox College Sports.
  • Altogether an estimated 4 billion viewers watched the 2006 Commonwealth Games worldwide.


Opening ceremonyEdit

Both the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Yarra River were centrepieces for the ceremony, which included many fireworks, and other spectacle. The Games were opened by Elizabeth II, in her capacity as Head of the Commonwealth. The Queen is also Head of State of a number of Commonwealth countries.


Melbourne 2006 XVIII Commonwealth Game – Fish Boats on Yarra River

The 2006 Commonwealth Games included 17 sports, with 12 individual sports and 4 team sports. In total there are 245 events at the Games.

  • The athletics, swimming, table tennis and weightlifting sports included fully integrated events for elite athletes with a disability (EAD). These events were included in the official medal tally.


OC Opening ceremony Event competitions 1 Event finals CC Closing ceremony
March 15th
Ceremonies OC CC
  Athletics 3 10 6 6 8 9 11 53
  Badminton 5 5
  Basketball 1 1 2
  Boxing 11 11
  Cycling 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 18
  Diving 2 2 2 2 8
  Gymnastics 1 1 2 5 5 1 1 4 24
  Field hockey 2 2 2 6
  Netball 1 1
  Rugby sevens 1 1
  Shooting 6 4 6 5 4 5 5 3 2 40
  Squash 2 3 5
  Swimming 5 5 9 5 11 7 42
  Synchronised swimming 2 2
  Table tennis 2 2 2 6
  Weightlifting 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 16
Total Events 11 18 20 21 39 26 17 19 19 29 17 245
Cumulative total 11 29 49 70 109 135 152 171 190 219 245
March 15th

Closing ceremonyEdit

Both the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Yarra River were again centrepieces for the ceremony. Samresh Jung of India was given the David Dixon Award at the closing ceremony. He was the "Best Athlete of the 18th Commonwealth Games". The games were closed by The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward.

Medal tableEdit

Note:The country coloured in blue is the host country i.e. Australia

Leisel Jones won four gold medals in the swimming competition, sweeping the breaststroke events and the medley relay.
Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1   Australia 84 69 69 222
2   England 36 40 34 110
3   Canada 26 29 31 86
4   India 22 17 11 50
5   South Africa 12 13 13 38
6   Scotland 11 7 11 29
7   Jamaica 10 4 8 22
8   Malaysia 7 12 10 29
9   New Zealand 6 12 13 31
10   Kenya 6 5 7 18


Countries and places competing at the games

There were 71 countries, territories and bodies competing at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.[9] The only difference between the 2006 games and the 2002 games was the absence of Zimbabwe, which withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations.

Participating Commonwealth countries and territories


Missing athletesEdit

On 20 March 2006 it was reported that two athletes had gone missing from the Commonwealth Games village: Tanzanian boxer Omari Idd Kimweri and Bangladeshi runner Mohammad Tawhidul Islam.[10][11]

On 22 March 2006 it was reported that seven athletes from Sierra Leone (three women and four men) had also disappeared. A further seven Sierra Leonean athletes also went missing during the course of the Games, bringing the total runaway count to fourteen (two-thirds of the team). Victoria Police believed that they had fled to Sydney where the Sierra Leonean community is much larger than Melbourne's.

Two hours before the Closing Ceremony on 26 March, officials from the Cameroon team reported to police that nine of their members had also vanished.

These incidents were not without precedent: 27 athletes similarly disappeared from the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England (21 from Sierra Leone, 5 from Bangladesh and one from Pakistan), and over 80 athletes and officials overstayed their visas after the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.[12]

On request of Sierra Leone officials, the Commonwealth Games Federation cancelled those athletes' Games accreditation, allowing the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) to cancel their visas at midnight on 27 March, and begin investigating their disappearance.

At 7.20 am on that day, New South Wales Police located six of the Sierra Leonean athletes in a house at Freshwater near Manly Beach in Sydney. All six indicated they wished to seek political asylum in Australia, and were granted bridging visas by DIMA while their refugee applications were arranged. The athletes claimed to have been subjected to violence and torture in their home country; seventeen-year-old Isha Conteh stated she could be forced into female genital cutting if she returned.[13] On Tuesday 28 March, six further Sierra Leoneans turned themselves in to immigration authorities in Sydney and were also granted bridging visas.[14]

Two of the missing Cameroonian athletes were later found in Perth, Western Australia.


  1. ^ The four Home Nations of the United KingdomEngland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — send separate teams to the Commonwealth Games, as do the three Crown DependenciesJersey, the Isle of Man and Guernsey — and 9 of the 14 British Overseas Territories. The Cook Islands and Niue, non-sovereign territories in free association with New Zealand also compete separately. There are thus 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, but 71 competing teams at the Commonwealth Games.
  2. ^ M2006 > Karak the Mascot > Display Archived 27 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Melbourne looks set to host 2006 Commonwealth Games". The Independent. 1999-04-11. 
  4. ^ edited by John Nauright & Charles Parrish (2012). Sports around the World: History, Culture, and Practice. ABC-CLIO. p. 371. 
  5. ^ Battlelines drawn as Parkville site chosen Archived 4 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ [1] Archived 16 June 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Public Transport Archived 29 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Plan Australia Archived 19 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ [2] Archived 22 June 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Whinnett, Ellen (22 March 2006). "Mystery of missing athletes". Herald Sun. 
  11. ^ "Nine athletes vanish from Commonwealth Games". Reuters. 22 March 2006. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Athletes 'go missing from Games'". BBC News Online. 23 March 2006. 
  13. ^ ABC Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Visas for second group of athletes". The Age. 28 March 2006. 

External linksEdit

Official websites
Other sites
Political opposition to the Games

Preceded by
Commonwealth Games
Host city
Succeeded by