Commonwealth Games 2002
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Sports Talk Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Should Aussie states go it alone?
Could Ian Thorpe soon be competing for New South Wales and Cathy Freeman for Queensland?
Such is Australia's dominance of the medals table that one newspaper is complaining that the Games are too easy.

Should Aussie athletes compete for their state of origin to give others a chance?


According to Australia's Daily Telegraph, the state of New South Wales alone had already bagged 20 medals by the end of Monday, a total that would put them third in the table.

There is a stumbling block to the idea, namely the constitution of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), although the tabloid points out that changes to can be made.

Meanwhile, some wags have commented that the paper's next step will be to tout the multi-gold-medal chasing "Thorpedo" as a separate country.

Does The Telegraph have a point? Or is it simply patronising the Games?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your emails appears below.

If Australians are to be judged by the misguided writings of one tabloid journalist, then God help England! Our press is so deeply embarrassing I'd hate to be judged by it. Let's just ignore the nonsense, be good sports and give credit where it is due.
Tim, UK

Simply measuring success by the number of medals is misleading. A dominant weightlifter should automatically collect three gold medals while a dominant judo fighter will only ever collect one. A dominant swimmer such as Thorpe will have the opportunity to collect a sackful of medals, a marathon runner will not.

It would be interesting to see a "weighted" medals table which addresses some of these anomalies (weightings by active participants Commonwealth-wide for example).

The Aussie men's hockey gold would suddenly become far more significant, and the 27 swimming golds less significant. I suspect Australia would still be top, but it might be a more illuminating reflection of overall sporting strength.
Mick, UK

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And what have you won in your favourite sport, soccer? NOTHING!
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Jason Harrison, Australia

Mark Walton (below) you are a jealous idiot! True, what was said in the Daily Telegraph is a load of rubbish, but to say that Australia has only 'one world class athlete' is the biggest load of rubbish I have ever heard!

World champions - netball team, women's hockey team, ladies squash, men's tennis number one, rugby league and union, cricket, top four in basketball and of course Grant Hackett, Ian Thorpe and the other superstars of swimming.

What does England have - world boxing heavyweight champion... there's something to be proud of. And what have you won in your favourite sport, soccer? NOTHING!
Jason Harrison, Australia

It makes me laugh how the English - and I mean the English as opposed to the Scots, Welsh and Irish - always revert back to the old chestnut of "the Aussies are good at swimming, rugby, cricket, netball, hockey, rugby league, but they are still rubbish at football".

Well, here's a news flash for you... England are still rubbish at football. They day that the English and media stop thinking of football as the be-all and end-all will be the day that England might become more of a world force in other sports.

Congratulations to the British swimmers who did so well in the pool. It was great to see them posting such amazing times. However, those blinkered people who go back to the old football comparison should change the record. It's boring.
Leanne, Australia

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Dividing Australia into states wouldn't give England anywhere near the same pleasure when they win
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Don't take any notice of this ridiculous article. Everyday Aussies do not think like that. I will be very upset if Aussies get so used to success that they start becoming as arrogant as the Americans.

By the way, I actually was slightly disappointed with the Australian medal tally. I thought there were numerous Australian athletes who did not perform as well as expected, otherwise we might have won 100 gold medals.
Ian, Australia

Couldn't help noticing from the media, both in Australia and the UK, that the real competition in the Commonwealth Games is between old sporting rivals, England and Australia. I'm sure we both get the most pleasure out of beating each other. Dividing Australia into states wouldn't give England anywhere near the same pleasure when they win.
Louise,Sydney, Australia

Sad that Australia's Daily Telegraph saw fit to sink to new depths with this absurd notion. There again, watching the games on Channel 7, one could be forgiven for thinking that it was all one way traffic for Australia.

Sure, we all like to see Aussies do well, but it would have been nice to have heard at least one other anthem during the games. I certainly didn't.
David George, Australia

Please don't assume that comments from one journalist represent the views of the majority of Australians, (or the views of that journalist for that matter). This was a tabloid newspaper deliberately trying to provoke an indignant response. (And it worked!!)PS. Dear Fiona, the Northern Territory has a government too.

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I would love to see a Commonwealth dream team against a sporting power such as the USA
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Robert C, Canada

I find all of this nationalism quite interesting and always have. The Australians have always been a proud lot and quite independent. I think they should take pleasure in giving the rest of the Commonwealth some goals and objectives to shoot for.

It is obvious that they spend a good chunk of their tax dollar on supporting their sport system. Not all of the competing nations choose to do so, or can. So the comments by this tabloid are disconcerting. I only hope that this does not represent the attitude of the average Aussie.

I for one would love to see a Commonwealth dream team against a sporting power such as the USA. I enjoyed the achievements of all the athletes at this CWG and look forward to those to come.
Robert C, Canada

I don't see any need for Australia to split into separate states, just as I can't see the reason the UK is split. Most people in the UK expect Australia to top the medal table because they are a great sporting nation, but they're not far enough ahead of anyone to justify separation.

It was reported over here that the Aussie team was confident of winning every gold in the pool, which I'm glad hasn't happened, both because I'm English and for the sake of competition. How can you honestly say we're sour losers, when the reception the crowds have been giving has been great no matter the nationality.
Karen Smith, UK

The UK could compete as one nation; however, remember Australia has a population of 18,950,000. England has a population of 49,495,000. We are doing very well for a small nation, and have every right to feel proud of the achievements of our sports people. Many of the comments here do sound like sour grapes.
Sharon,Melbourne, Australia

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Australian newspapers write alot of embarrassing things, this is another example
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Nathan, Australia

I wouldn't take too much notice of what the Daily Telegraph says. I think they just wanted to highlight how New South Wales has won more medals than any of the other Australian states (in particular Victoria) and to rub it in!

Personally, I'm enjoying watching the Aussies win enough medals to sink a ship - to my mind the best feature of the Commonwealth Games! I have to say though, if South Australia competed on its own then the gold medals we would win would be more satisfying given that they would be harder to win.
Ray Nolan, Adelaide, Australia

Australian newspapers write alot of embarrassing things, this is another example.
Nathan, Australia

I thought that I had heard everything in terms of ridiculous comments from Australians and their media, but to suggest that they are capable of competing on a world stage at state representative level is surely the most ludicrous suggestion in sport.

I could understand it a little more if a true global superpower such as the USA was suggesting this, but Australia! I think we need a reality check here. Australia: you are good at swimming, cricket and rugby (which are parochial anyway). You have ONE world-class athlete (Cathy Freeman) and register no impact in the true global sport of football.
Mark Walton,England

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If there was a gold for egotism they'd win hands down
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Dave Fitton, UK

Yes! That is a FANTASTIC idea. This would enable Australia to enter seven-times as many athletes: Fourteen hockey teams and seven swimming squads. Under a new system the same Australians would win the same gold medals but with seven teams it would give lesser-known Australian sportspeople the chance to win the silver and bronze medals too.

Let's go for it. Also, let's rename them the Australia Games and host them in a different Australian State Capital city every four years. They all have bigger and better facilities than Manchester.
Stephen Ryan,Australian in London

The Aussies need to get real and take pride from their achievements as a nation, it's not the winning it's the taking part! If there was a gold for egotism they'd win hands down.
Dave Fitton, UK

There always has to be a winner and at the moment its Australia because they are producing fine athletes. This gives the countries behind them something to aspire to and that would be taken away if the country fragmented.

At the moment Oz are not actually running away with the medals. Although more golds have been won England and Canada are not far away when it comes to total medals won, so Oz can't really be described as running away with it.
Stu, England

No, Australia should compete as they do currently. It is up to the rest of us to produce athletes who can compete at the same level. There have been some athletes at these Games who have under-achieved from all nations. The Australians seem to have the mental durability that makes them winners in most sports that they compete in on the world stage.
Stephen Camp, England

What a disgracefull notion. Typical Telegraph tabloid trash to get readers riled. Most Aussies love it when Australia compete and couldn't give two hoots when states play (except State of Origin).
Roc Ingersol, Australia

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If the Aussies think it is too easy for them and that it is rather boring winning all the time, then they should just stop competing and withdraw from the Games
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Stephen Meiring,South Africa

If the UK has to be divided into its regions (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) then why should this not apply to Australia? Each State there has its own government (except Northern Territory) so where is the problem?

I'm sure that if the medals total for England, N Ireland, Scotland and Wales were totalled together then the UK would be seen as an equal to Australia and we wouldn't be having this debate!

Maybe the Aussies are just too scared that by representing their states they will only come second!
Fiona, England

If the Aussies think it is too easy for them and that it is rather boring winning all the time, then they should just stop competing and withdraw from the Games. It seems they are missing the plot. So what if they win all the time. The honour comes from competing in the games.

However, it would be unlikely that the Aussies will pull out because they need something to be arrogant about or their whole country will fall apart!
Stephen Meiring,South Africa

Typically stupid article by The Telegraph. Majority of Australians I would guess are more than happy for athletes to represent their country, especially when their country provides funds for their success. It is after all only a "game".
Dianne,Australia (living in UK)

How can Australia's Daily Telegraph be so arrogant as to suggest that Australia's dominance is causing the games to be boring. They have obviously not seen that, apart from Australia's 30 golds, 78 golds have been won by other nations.

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Australians should not be branded arrogant because of one journalist's opinion
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Harry Harrison,Australia

Yes, they may dominate in three or four sporting events, but there are many events where they do not have dominance, but I guess the Telegraph writer failed to watch these and just concentrated on those that Australia excel at. Sport needs nations who excel as a benchmark for other nations to aim at.

In reply to Tom Patterson, I had the pleasure of being in Sydney for the 2000 Olympics. And seeing winners not even being talked about on the Australian networks because they were not Australian sums up Australian televisions coverage of the games.

Never take any notice of what is written in The Daily Telegraph. They do not represent the opinion of most Australians. Australians and the Australian media should not be branded arrogant because of one journalist's opinion.
Harry Harrison,Australia

Australians have such little interest in what their state does as opposed to what their nation does, and this coupled with their lack of interest in the Commonwealth Games as opposed to the Olympics would be a troubling combination for the future of the Commonwealth Games' popularity should such a plan be pursued.
James,U.S.A. (Australian citizen)

By asking the question 'should the Aussies go it alone to give others a chance' is like saying 'should Man Utd be thrown out of the Premiership to give others as chance'. 'Don't be stupid' is the response I would give.
Bob Vuthbertson,North east England

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The record for the most medals one in any Commonwealth Games is still held by England
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As an Australian watching the BBC coverage of the Commonwealth games, I find the constant insults and barbs directed at the Australian team simply offensive.

Examples include "then, being Australians, they went on to mercilessly slaughter their opponents". If the English hockey team had won 18-0, there would have been dancing in the streets and a half-hour highlights show. The Commonwealth Games are all about celebrating sport and embracing the common skills and talents of our brother countries. They're not about sour grapes.
Tom Patterson,Australia

The Australians would do well to remember that the record for the most medals one in any Commonwealth Games is still held by England and perhaps they should try beating this record first before boasting about their abilities whilst still being second.

What a ridiculous idea! Instead, why don't Canada and England just join forces considering we actually like the monarchy!The arrogance, just like Americans.
C Knight, Vancouver, Canada

Absurd idea! To begin with, Australia would win more medals than ever with 20 entries in each event. It should be remembered that, apart from team games, the medals are awarded to the individual athlete.

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Can we make an Australia and NZ rugby team and call it the Antipodeans?
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Nathan, Australia

The country medal table, whilst interesting, should not be the prime focus. Let's celebrate the achievements of the individuals from whichever country they come from.
Mark Fraser, UK

Typical Telegraph article. A lot of people in OZ find the existence of the Telegraph quite humourous, especially in Sydney where the Sydney Morning Herald is a more dominant paper. They write stupid things to get a reaction out of people, so I am not suprised.

But why exactly does Great Britain compete as six different countries in the Commonwealth Games but as one in the Olympics? I've never really understood. Can we make an Australia and NZ rugby team and call it the Antipodeans?
Nathan, Australia

It was Ian Thorpe who said that Australia had asked, when wanting to drop the Queen as their monach, if they would still be able to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

If they want to compete then they do so as a country of the Commonwealth, not a state within the country of the Commonwealth. Using the Aussie Telegraph results system, Kent has two medals. Where would we be in the medals table?!
Phil Gurnett, England

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