BEHIND THE SPORTS DESK: Are the Games really worth it?

THE GAMES: The Gold Coast has lit up over the past two weeks, as the Commonwealth Games have captivated the nation.

Australia has been well and truly on top during the competition, amassing a wealth of gold medals more than double the next nation on the list.

But how does the Commonwealth Games compare to the Olympics? Is it really worth all the hype?

MOOSE ELKERTON: Archaic disparity between nations hurting world sport

WHILE there have definitely been a few high points during the Commonwealth Games, I am beginning to question the legitimacy of it as a 'world class' competition.

The vast gulf between competing nations is dispiriting. To see Australia top the medal count with 145* medals (including a staggering 57 gold), just reminds you even further that there are 34 nations who have not secured even one.

When it comes to gold medals, the top two nations Australia and England together have more than the remaining 70 nations combined.

This is not to say the sport is second-rate.

There will be a few world records that will get a nudge. Some have already been broken. But given the gulf between the privileged nations and the majority of the Commonwealth, there is something not so positive about driving away with truckloads of gold.

Then there is a cost of hosting the games. So high is the outlay, that only a few of the former British colonies can actually afford to host.

Since the Games started in 1930, it has been held outside the Big 4 (UK, New Zealand, Canada and Australia) on only three times - in Kuala Lumpur, Delhi and Kingston, Jamaica.

While it might be a chance for Australia to parade itself as a global sporting power, because hey, we won medals, the Games is an archaic construct that was probably ready to be put to rest when the Commonwealth itself became obsolete.

With all the glitz and glam of the Gold Coast Games, maybe it's the perfect swansong.

*Medal counts correct at time of print yesterday.

CAITLAN CHARLES: Spotlight shines on all of our athletes

AT WHAT other international sporting event do we see para-athletes competing against able-bodied athletes? None. The Commonwealth Games is a space for people of all abilities to compete side by side, which is how sport should be played.

Watching Lakeisha Patterson compete in the 100m free in a class above her classification as an S8 athlete was uplifting and a first-class performance.

Or even Michael Levy, who won his 50m final by half a body length.

Para-athletes are contributing to our high medal score, which some may use to highlight the disparity between competing countries, but at the end of the day it shows our athletes' growth, especially since the Rio Olympics.

But it's not just the paraathletes who get the opportunity to show what they've got, it's the athletes who don't get the opportunity to play at the Olympic Games, like our own squash players Cameron Pilley and Donna Urquhart.

While it's obvious squash should be in the Olympic Games and that the athletes want it in the Olympics, the reality is, it's not.

Right now, this is the height of competing for some athletes. It's still important to give them something to strive towards.

Our athletes are amazing, and we need to be supporting the competitions that put them in the spotlight - like the Commonwealth Games.

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