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Friendly, Fair and Inclusive

The 2022 Commonwealth Games

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To identify the values at the heart of the Commonwealth Games.

Preparation and materials


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Welcome the students to the assembly.

  2. Tell the students that you are going to have a short quiz. They will see a series of flags and you want them to see whether they can name which country each flag is from. There will also be a bonus question at the end where you will ask what links all of these countries.

    Show Slides 2 to 6.

    For each slide, ask which country the flag represents before clicking to reveal the answer.

    - Slide 2 shows Canada.
    - Slide 3 shows Ghana.
    - Slide 4 shows Pakistan.
    - Slide 5 shows Wales.
    - Slide 6 shows Sri Lanka.

  3. Ask the final bonus question: ‘Can anyone work out what all of these countries have in common?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    The correct answer is that they are all countries that are members of the Commonwealth and will be competing in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

    Show Slide 7.

  4. So, what are the Commonwealth Games? Perhaps we would do better to start with another question: what is the Commonwealth?

    About a century ago, the British Empire covered a quarter of the Earth’s total land area. It consisted of lands that were ruled or administered by the UK. The world has changed a lot since then, and many of these countries are independent now. 

    However, many of them still wanted to work together and be united in some way. So, they chose to become part of what is now called the Commonwealth, a group of 54 independent and equal countries who are united by shared goals in terms of development, democracy and peace. 

    Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth; she describes it as a family of nations. Her role carries no formal functions, but has great symbolic significance.

    Representatives from Commonwealth countries work together to achieve the best results for the 2.4 billion people who live there. The last country to join the Commonwealth was the African nation of Rwanda in 2009. Other Commonwealth nations include Bangladesh, Botswana, Cyprus, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malta, Malaysia and Trinidad and Tobago.

  5. The Commonwealth Games is an international multi-sport event for member countries of the Commonwealth. It takes place every four years, and people often call it the Friendly Games. Previous Commonwealth Games have been noted for inspiring athletes to compete in the spirit of friendship and fair play.

  6. The opening ceremony of the twenty-second Commonwealth Games is on 28 July 2022. The Games will be held in Birmingham, and teams from most of the Commonwealth countries will compete. The UK nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete as four separate teams. Notably, Barbados will be celebrating its first appearance at the Games since becoming a republic on 30 November 2021.

  7. There will be 283 finals played across 20 sports at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

    Show Slides 8 to 14, pausing after each to name the sport that is shown.

    The sports include:

    badminton (Slide 8)
    - beach volleyball (Slide 9)
    - judo (Slide 10)
    - hockey (Slide 11)
    - lawn bowls (Slide 12)
    - wheelchair racing (Slide 13)
    - para powerlifting (Slide 14)

  8. The Commonwealth Games is distinct from the Olympics in that there is no separate Games for elite athletes with disabilities (EADs). Instead, the teams are inclusive, so athletes who have disabilities and athletes who don’t are all part of the same team, and they all contribute to an overall medal tally for their country.

    According to the guidelines for the Commonwealth Games, there must be a minimum of four para sporting events: athletics, lawn bowls, swimming and powerlifting. This year, history will be made as 3x3 wheelchair basketball makes its debut at the Commonwealth Games.

  9. Let’s meet some of the UK athletes who will be competing.

    Show Slide 15.

    Competing for England is 26-year-old Anna Hopkin MBE. She originally took up swimming to help build her confidence and claimed a gold medal at the last Olympics as part of the 4 x 100 metre mixed relay team.

  10. Show Slide 16.

    One athlete in the Welsh team is gymnast Emil Barber. He was born in 2000 and took up the sport at the age of nine. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to develop his mental and physical stamina.

  11. Show Slide 17.

    The Scottish team includes 72-year-old Rosemary Lenton, who will compete in one of the lawn bowls events. It will be her first time representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, but she has a huge amount of experience in competing in both bowls and her other sport of wheelchair curling.

  12. Show Slide 18.

    For Northern Ireland, there is Courtney Meneely. She is 27 years old and has been playing lawn bowls since she was 11. She hopes that her selection for the team and her participation in the Games will encourage other young people to take up the sport.

Time for reflection

So, to summarize, the Commonwealth Games brings people together from around the world to compete in a friendly and fair way. Three values that are at the heart of the Commonwealth Games are humanity, equality and destiny.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on these values and consider how they might apply to us.

Humanity means the quality of being human. At our best, we have the capacity to be loving, compassionate and kind. The athletes that we have heard about today try to live out these qualities as they train and then compete.

Let’s bow our heads for a moment and take the opportunity to consider how we can be humane today. What does it mean to us to be loving, compassionate and kind?

Pause to allow time for thought.

The theme of equality is reflected in the makeup of the teams, which include both disabled and non-disabled athletes.

Let’s bow our heads for a moment and take the opportunity to consider how we can be inclusive today. What does it mean to us to accept people who are different from ourselves? How can we make our society a more inclusive place?

Pause to allow time for thought.

All of the athletes at the Games are seeking to fulfil their destiny by using their talents and skills as they train and then compete. People who believe in God might say that they are living out their God-given purpose.

Let’s bow our heads for a moment and take the opportunity to consider our own destiny. What are our talents and skills? What steps can we take today to live them out and fulfil our potential?

Dear Lord,
We await with excitement the arrival of athletes from around the world for the Friendly Games.
In their commitment to the values of humanity, equality and destiny, may they inspire us to live in a way that enriches the lives of ourselves and others.
Please help us to be friendly and fair in how we approach challenges, both on and off the sports field.

Publication date: July 2022   (Vol.24 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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