Jamaica proves doubters wrong to host great Games

As the British Empire had formally ended by 1966, the Kingston Games became the VIII British Commonwealth Games in their third name change since the Hamilton 1930 British Empire Games.

They were the first Games to be held outside the so-called white Commonwealth countries.

There was worry amongst the larger nations that Jamaica’s infrastructure would not enable a successful Games delivery and that the small country’s limited resources would be stretched to breaking point in attempting to build facilities for the Games.

However, the Jamaicans showed that predictions about the country not being ready to host the Games were largely unfounded.

Kingston delivered a superb Games. England topped the medal table, narrowly beating Australia, with the hosts finishing in a respectable 16th place. 

At the Kingston 1966 Games, a controversial decision was made to alter the event programme for the first time since 1950.

Amid protest, lawn bowls and rowing, which had featured in every single Commonwealth Games since 1930, were dropped altogether. The two sports that replaced them were badminton and shooting.

Despite Jamaica’s success in the hosting  the event, the Kingston 1966 Games still remain the only occasion that they have been held in the Caribbean.·

Date Games held: August 4-13

Number of nations represented: 34

Number of competitors: 1,050

Number of medals awarded: 340