Commonwealth Games 2018: Memories of Games past not as vivid as Olympics, so only fair I pay more attention
PUBLISHED: 18:00 03 April 2018
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My first memories of the Commonwealth Games are from 1982, catching a glimpse of ‘Breakfast from Brisbane’ on TV before heading off to school.
One of the main talking points from that event was the dead heat in the men’s 100m, between Allan Wells, of Scotland, and England’s Mike MacFarlane.
And most of my recollections from Games past are of the athletics – such as Steve Cram beating Tom McKean and Peter Elliott to 800m gold in 1986.
The England men’s 4x400m relay squad – Akabusi, Black, Bennett and Brown – also struck gold that year, with Daley Thompson strolling to decathlon success by a 490-point margin.
The rivalry between javelin throwers Tessa Sanderson and Fatima Whitbread in Edinburgh also springs to mind, but I confess I had to do my research when it came to other Games.
Whether it’s a case of getting older and information overload affecting my memory, or the fact the Commonwealth Games does not register in the public conscience as much as the Olympics, I don’t know.
But I learned that in 1990, in Auckland, Myrtle Augee won the shot put by 5cm from Judie Oakes, while Jonathan Edwards was pipped to the triple jump gold by just 2cm, as Eugene Gilkes – who I had the pleasure of meeting at a cricket match over two decades later – won decathlon bronze.
Denise Lewis won heptathlon gold by eight points in Victoria, Canada in 1994, with Edwards 3cm short of Julian Golley in the triple jump this time, and the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur included team sports for the first time, when Oakes won her third gold and sixth Commonwealth medal.
Manchester 2002 saw Edwards jump to gold – after Olympic, World and European titles – as former Repton amateur Darren Barker won light-welterweight gold and there was 400m gold for Christine Ohuruogu in 2006 in Melbourne, before so much more success for her on the track.
I vaguely remember writing about Upminster’s Peter Barker winning squash bronze at the Delhi 2010 Games, which he followed with silver and bronze four years later, and the Glasgow 2014 Games were golden for Newham & Essex Beagles pole vaulter Steve Lewis, Harold Wood-born judoka Colin Oates and Woodford Green decathlete turned 4x400m relay runner Dan Awde.
But falling between the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, with all of Team GB’s higher-profile successes at those Games, they did not register as much. That is clearly wrong and with local sportsmen and women involved on the Gold Coast, I promise to pay more attention and give the 2018 Commonwealth Games the credit they deserve.