There are thirty-one sports approved by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). This article on the CGF website provides some historical background to the Games.
It is interesting to note that:
- Only single competition sports had been on the program from 1930 up to and including the 1994 Games in Victoria.
- The 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur saw the introduction of team sports with nations taking part in cricket (50 over game), hockey (men and women), netball (women) and rugby 7’s (men).
- In Manchester in 2002 hockey, netball and rugby 7’s were in the program.
- At the 2006 Games in Melbourne basketball accompanied hockey, netball and rugby 7’s on the program.
- Hockey, netball and rugby 7’s are Delhi in 2010 .
- The 2002 Games in Manchester also saw for the first time a limited number of full medal events for elite athletes with a disability (EAD) in a fully inclusive sports programme. This continued in Melbourne where EAD athletes took part in athletics, swimming, table tennis and powerlifting.
A Wikipedia item about the Commonwealth Games reports that:
The Commonwealth Games sports are divided into three main types: core sports, optional sports, and recognised sports. All ten core sports must be included in the Games programme, while the host nation may choose to include up to seven optional sports. Recognised sports are sports which have been approved by the CGF but are deemed to need further growth before their inclusion.
The host nation may also apply for the inclusion of a maximum of four team sports to the CGF General Assembly, as the Melbourne organising committee did with basketball for the 2006 Games. There is also a requirement to include some events for Elite Athletes with a Disability (EAD): there are four core para-sports and three optional para-sports.
(Note that this list does not include synchronised swimming and tennis in Delhi … it should do.)
Each host nation nominates the optional sports that are included in the program. In Delhi these sports are: archery, cycling, diving, gymnastics, shooting, table tennis, tennis, wrestling. In 2006 India had requested the inclusion of a recognised sport, billiards, and an unrecognised sport, snooker, but these were not approved for inclusion in Delhi. In 2014, Glasgow has nominated cycling, diving, gymnastics, judo, shooting, table tennis, tennis, triathlon and wrestling.
If the Gold Coast bid is successful for 2018 there will be the ten core sports and seven additional disciplines. The Gold Cast bid has nominated cycling, basketball, gymnastics, shooting, table tennis, triathlon and wrestling as the seven optional disciplines.
Basketball has appeared once in the Games (Melbourne 2006) as has tenpin bowling (Kuala Lumpur 1998).
Fencing was included from 1950 to 1970. Rowing last appeared in the Games in 1986. Synchronised swimming has appeared twice (1986, 2006) and water polo three times (most recently in Melbourne, 2006).