The eyes of the world will focus on the North West of England in 2002 when, from 25 July to 4 August, the Commonwealth celebrates the XVII Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth provides many special links between its members. Among the most active are those involved in sport and recreation. Sport is a great leveller. It brings together people from every background. It demonstrates the value of co-operation, teamwork and team spirit; it touches the need to abide by rules and regulations. Sport emphasises the importance of self-control and how to take victory or defeat with good grace.
More than 5,000 athletes and technical officials from 72 Commonwealth nations will participate in the biggest Games ever. A television audience of millions will watch the competition and experience the unique flavour of Manchester and the North West of England. The Commonwealth bond will be the essence of the Games and the associated Spirit of Friendship Festival and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Baton Relay which will pass through Commonwealth nations before returning to the Opening Ceremony.
The XVII Commonwealth Games in Manchester will be the ‘Friendly Games’ and I am greatly looking forward to being present for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.