22 Sep 2023

Former NZOC boss wants to bring Commonwealth Games back from brink

3:15 pm on 22 September 2023
NZOC CEO - Kereyn Smith.

Kereyn Smith is campaigning to be next Commonwealth Games Federation president. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Former New Zealand Olympic Committee ceo Kereyn Smith is pledging to reimagine the Commonwealth Games as she campaigns to be the next president of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

If elected president in November, Smith wanted to ensure the Commonwealth Games were sustainable, adaptable, and future-focussed.

"I have a real belief in the power of the Commonwealth Sport movement," Smith said.

"While proud of our past, Commonwealth Sport stands at a crossroads today and I believe we need to act together to embrace change and overcome these challenges."

The Commonwealth Games is currently in crisis. Without a host for its next edition in 2026, after Victoria pulled out, and struggling to find one for the following event four years later.

New Zealand has taken a tentative step in bidding to host the 2034 Commonwealth Games.

Smith has served as vice-president of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) for eight years and as part of her vision for the presidency she wanted to take hosting of the Games across all regions of the Commonwealth.

She planned to modernise and strengthen Commonwealth Sport with a focus on commercial development, governance, and transparency within the Federation.

Elevating and empowering athletes was also on Smith's radar. She planned to prioritise athlete's interests, participation, aspirations, and well-being.

Smith said she was also committed to celebrating the diversity of cultures within the Commonwealth, optimising collective potential, and setting high standards for integrity, inclusivity, and diversity.

Smith's immediate priority, if elected, would be to reassess the current state of Commonwealth Sport and build upon the Strategic Plan 2023 - 2034 Commonwealth United.

The elections take place on November 14 and 15 at the CGF General Assembly in Singapore and the NZOC is endorsing Smith for president.