Sec-General commends Commonwealth Olympians

London: Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has lauded the Commonwealth nations for their record-breaking accomplishments at the 2012 London Olympics. He said they had done the Commonwealth proud.

The closing ceremony of the 17-day sporting event on 12 August coincided appropriately with International Youth Day. Participants from Commonwealth countries won a total of 179 medals – 56 gold, 55 silver, and 68 bronze.

Great Britain led the Commonwealth table, achieving 65 medals – 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze. It ranked third in the overall Games medal tally after USA and China.

Australia took second place among the Commonwealth competing countries, winning 35 medals – 7 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze. New Zealand came in third with 13 medals – six gold, two silver and five bronze.

But the successes go far beyond country rankings. There are personal achievements too, and the sheer personal dedication shown by athletes representing many of the smaller Commonwealth countries.

Uganda`s Stephen Kiprotich did the Commonwealth community proud with his outstanding gold medal in the men`s marathon, the country`s first yellow metal for 40 years. David Lekuta Rudisha created a world record in the 800m for Kenya.

Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago launched his javelin into gold position and The Bahamas` 4x400m relay team also won gold. Wrestler Sushil Kumar was one of two Indian athletes who brought home the silver medal, in addition to the bronze won by Mary Kom in women`s boxing. And then there was Canada`s Rosannagh Maclennan who won gold in the trampoline.

Track legend Usain Bolt`s accomplishments make him bigger than just a Commonwealth champion, but Jamaica and the Commonwealth proudly lay claim to him first. The Jamaican sweep in the men`s 200m was also an admirable feat.

But what would these games have been without the exceptional performances by the UK`s Ben Ainslie, Bradley Higgins, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Nicola Adams, the first ever Olympic women`s boxing champion. They and so many other outstanding athletes from the host nation turned in brilliant overall performances in London.

The Secretary-General said the competitors had brought pride to their countries and to the Commonwealth, inspiring other young people through their dedication, discipline and team work.

"Participants have inspired other young people through their dedication, discipline and team work particularly in the run-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games (the Friendly Games) which will take place in Glasgow, and where we hope for even higher levels of accomplishment.

"I congratulate all the Commonwealth athletes for making us proud over the last two weeks. They have demonstrated that determination and single-mindedness to achieve greatness can be realised, whether on the podium or through participation. They have blazed a trail for other aspiring sportsmen and women to follow," said the Secretary-General.

"Many Olympic and world records have been broken at this Games. Many sports icons have won accolades for defending their titles, while newcomers have stunned the world with their victories. As London now prepares for the Paralympic Games, I wish these athletes the very best."

The 16 Commonwealth countries that won medals in the London 2012 Olympics are Australia, The Bahamas, Botswana, Canada, Cyprus, Grenada, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Great Britain.