Gambia confirms exit from Glasgow-hosted Commonwealth Games

Monday, October 7, 2013

Following Gambia’s sudden withdrawal last week from the Commonwealth of Nations, the country confirmed today they have withdrawn from the Glasgow-hosted Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place next year. This leaves 70 countries and territories competing in the Games.

The country’s president Yahya Jammeh withdrew from the 54-nation Commonwealth with a statement on television Thursday saying, “The general public is hereby informed that the Government of the Gambia has left the Commonwealth of Nations with immediate effect […] [The] Government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that the Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism.”

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the 2014 Games said, “All Commonwealth nations and territories are entitled to compete in the Commonwealth Games. Glasgow 2014 has received confirmation from the Commonwealth Games Federation of the formal withdrawal of The Gambia from the Commonwealth. It is our understanding, therefore, that The Gambia does not intend to enter a team and compete in next year’s Games.”

Being a member of the Commonwealth is a requirement for participation in the Games, and organizers could not formally withdraw Gambia from the Games until they received confirmation from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The organizers are planning to modify the Queen’s Baton Relay to remove Gambia. The relay traditionally involves the baton travelling to all participating countries.

Having participated at every Commonwealth Games since 1970 except the boycotted 1986 Commonwealth Games, the nation has only won one medal, a bronze at the 1970 British Commonwealth Games.

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