London: Squeezed into the sporting calendar alongside the soccer World Cup and the Winter Olympics, the Commonwealth Games could be forgiven for having an inferiority complex.
To their critics, the so-called Friendly Games are an irrelevance, a remnant of the British Empire that lacks the top sports performers from Europe, the United States and Asia.
But the 72 members of the Commonwealth Games Federation, which meets in Jamaica next Thursday to decide if New Delhi or the Canadian city of Hamilton will host the 2010 Games, would beg to differ and they are not alone.
“The only doubts about the relevance are ironically in the British Isles because certainly in athletics, and probably in other sports, we are involved in so many other European and world competitions,” UK Athletics chief executive David Moorcroft said.
The contest between New Delhi and Hamilton, which hosted the first Games in 1930 offers a straight choice between new and old.
As a developing nation, India are probably favourite to win the vote, not least because two of the Commonwealth’s wealthier members, Britain (Manchester 2002) and Australia (Melbourne 2006) will have staged the preceding two Games.