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British Empire Games (Twilight of a New Era)

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British Empire Games
British Empire Games flag (TNE)

Ceremonial flag of the British Empire Games

Motto Virtus, honor, et gloria in victoria
Anthem God Save the King
Working languages English
Headquarters BEGF London, United Kingdom
Establishment BEGF
First and last event 1930 to date

The British Empire Games are a major international multi-sport event involving athletes (men and women since 1930) from the Imperial Commonwealth Federation (ICF). They are organized by the British Empire Games Federation.

The Organization of the Games

The British Empire Games Federation (BEGF) promotes and encourages participation in sports, ensures the British Empire Games take place on a regular schedule, protects the sportsmanship, and encourages, assists and supports the development of sport and leisure. The BEGF is governed by the General Assembly and Executive Board.

Previously the British Empire Games were organized by an Ad-Hoc Committee (1928-1935), and the Secretariat of the ICF (1935-?).

The BEGF is integrated by the Imperial and Commonwealth Games Associations (ICGA), from member of the ICF. The Games allow teams from either a dominion, protectorate, crown colony or territory, or its provincial constituents to compete. This allows the 4 Home Nations (England, Wales, Scotland and, Northern Ireland) to participate. The Irish Free State withdraw from the BEGF in 1932.

In football, the BEGF co-sponsors along the Football Association (FA), Scottish Football Association (SFA), Irish Football Association (IFA) and Football Association of Ireland (FAI, since 1922), the British Home Championship. In this championship participate the national teams from the 4 nations until 1922, and 4 nations + Irish Free State since 1924..

The BEGF also co-sponsors along the Commonwealth Football Associations Committee the Imperial and Commonwealth Football Cup created in 1936.

In rugby union, the BEGF co-sponsors the 6 Nations Championship, played by the national teams of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy.

Ceremonies and events of the British Empire Games

The Parade of the Nations of opening ceremony in main venue. It starts with a a single flag bearer carrying the Union Jack that leads the parade of nations, symbolizing Britain's leading role in the British Empire. He is followed by all participating sports delegations in march enter the venue. After all delegations have entered, The Monarch of the United Kingdom and Dominions or His representative briefly declares the Games open:

I declare the (number) British Empire Games of (place, year) duly open.

The Union Jack, the Ceremonial Flag of the games and the flag of the host of the Games are raised.

Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third.

British Empire Games

British Empire Games versions
Version Year Host Notes
non official 1911 London (UK) Inter-Empire Championships, has part of the Festival of the Empire. Not counted as part of BEG
I 1930 Hamilton (Canada)
II 1934 London (England, UK)

Sports played in the British Empire Games

  • Archery (individual)
  • Athletics (Track & Field, men and women individual)
  • Badminton (individual)
  • Basketball (team)
  • Billard (individual)
  • Boxing (individual)
  • Canoeing (individual)
  • Cricket (team)
  • Cycling (road and track, team and individual)
  • Diving (team and individual)
  • Equestrian (dressage, eventing and jumping. Team and individual)
  • Fencing (individual)
  • Field Hockey (team)
  • Golf (individual)
  • Gymnastics (Artistic, team and individual)
  • Gymnastics (Rhythmic, team and individual)
  • Handball (team)
  • Hockey (team)
  • Judo (team and individual)
  • Lawn bowls (team)
  • Netball (team)
  • Rowing (team and individual)
  • Rugby sevens (team)
  • Sailing (team and individual)
  • Shooting (individual)
  • Softball (team)
  • Squash (individual)
  • Swimming (Men and Women, team and individual)
  • Synchronized Swimming (team and individual)
  • Table Tennis (individual)
  • Tennis (individual)
  • Ten-pin bowling (individual and team)
  • Triathlon (individual)
  • Volleyball (team)
  • Water Polo (team)
  • Weightlifting (individual)
  • Wrestling - Freestyle (individual)
  • Wrestling - Women's Freestyle (individual)
  • Wrestling - Greco-Roman (individual)

Participating ICGA in the British Empire Games

The Imperial and Commonwealth Games Associations (ICGA), from either the home nations, dominion, protectorate, crown colony, territory, or provincial constituents. Some ICGA are usually coincident with an existing National Olympic Committee.

Home Nations

  • England
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Ireland (participated and member until 1922, split in Irish Free State and Northern Ireland)
  • Northern Ireland (from 1923 to date)
  • Irish Free State (participated and member between 1923-1932)


  • Malta
  • Isle of Man
  • Jersey
  • Guernsey
  • Gibraltar

America and Atlantic Ocean

  • Canada
  • Newfoundland (incorporated to Canada in 1935)
  • Bermuda
  • British Guiana (although part of WIF it sends a separate team)
  • Jamaica (although part of WIF it sends a separate team)
  • Trinidad and Tobago (although part of WIF it sends a separate team)
  • West Indies Team (until establishment of WIF) - West Indies Federation


  • Ceylon
  • Hong-Kong
  • India (Provinces)
  • Federated Malay States - Malayan Union
  • Straits Settlements
  • North Borneo
  • Sarawak
  • Hyderabad
  • Mysore
  • Baroda
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Gwalior
  • Travancore, later Travancore-Cochin


  • Australia
  • Fiji
  • New Zealand


See also

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