Miniscule presence on the international map but a sporting culture that stands second to none. That is the message some of the ‘lesser-known’ countries like Nauru, Jersey and Montserrat, to name a few, would like to send, come October.
While much has been said about the New Zealand, Canada, Scotland, Australia and England contingents complaining about the poor conditions at the Village, these small states, some of which have the potential to stage major upsets have slipped the media’s eye.
Nauru can be a case in point. This small island in the South Pacific with a population of just about 10,000 first participated in the Commonwealth Games in 1990. And except at the Melbourne Games in 2006, the nation has won at least one gold medal in weightlifting every time.
“We don’t mind not being in the limelight. The expectations are less and the players are able to focus better. Just wait till you see our lifters compete,” said Maroa Akura, press operations officer of the Nauru Olympic Committee told HT.
“It is not that we don’t win medals. We have the right temperament to stage upsets and give stiff competition to the big brothers. But our contingents are small and therefore our achievements are not reflected well by the final medal tally,” said G. Reed of Commonwealth Games Federation of Jersey, a crown dependency island in the English Channel.
Some of these countries are expected to bring in their own fan contingents as well. A group of fans from Uganda were seen waiting for cabs at the International airport on Saturday. “We have come here to support our team and will hope they bag a few medals to make our trip here worthwhile,” said Tuvana Oello, a businessman who claims to have been a weightlifter himself.