Rhona Simpson will serve as the chair of the Commission ©Twitter/Helen Phillips

An Athletes Advisory Commission has been launched by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) for the first time with the aim of engaging and representing competitors views, it was announced today. 

The Commission will form a part of the CGF governance and management structure.

The CGF claim it will strengthen links between athletes, administrators and Games organisers.

It is hoped the Commission will help to grow the profile, meaning and impact of Commonwealth Athletes.

Scotland’s most decorated hockey player Rhona Simpson will serve as the chair and will represent the body on the CGF Executive Board.

Simpson competed at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games during her career.

She will be joined by South Africa’s seven-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Natalie Du Toit, who will serve as the Para-sport representative.

Former Scotland rugby sevens captain Colin Gregor, Sri Lankan badminton player E Niluka Rushan Karunaratne and Dominican high jumper Brendan Williams will also feature on the Commission, along with Canada’s Nicole Forrester, a high jump gold medallist at Delhi 2010.

The Commission is completed by Botswana’s Lechezdani Luza, a Manchester 2002 boxing silver medallist, and New Zealand's Alison Shanks, winner of the women’s 3,000 metres individual pursuit gold at Delhi 2010.

The inaugural Commission was selected at the CGF Executive Board meeting earlier this month in Colombo.

South Africa's Natalie Du Toit is the Para-sport representative on the new Commonwealth Games Federation Athletes Advisory Commission launched today ©Getty Images
South Africa's Natalie Du Toit is the Para-sport representative on the new Commonwealth Games Federation Athletes Advisory Commission launched today ©Getty Images

It followed a regional nomination process, which looked to bring together a highly-accomplished group of Commonwealth athletes and medallists with significant previous Games and sports, civic and academic leadership experience.

"Commonwealth athletes are ambassadors of a great Movement whose purpose has been carried and shared across decades, across generations and across borders," Louise Martin, the CGF President, said.

"As we recognised in Transformation 2022, the creation of an Athletes Advisory Commission affirms our commitment to being an athlete-centred, sport-focused Movement.

"We are thrilled and thankful that such a diverse and decorated group of inspiring sports leaders, representing each of our regions, will help shape the future direction of this vitally important initiative through Gold Coast 2018 and beyond."

The Commission is due to meet for the first time during next year's Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, due to take place from April 4 to 15.

The CGF claim the Commission was selected to ensure an optimum mix of skills and competencies and balanced representation in relation to region, team and individual sports and Para-sport.

They highlight that men and women are equally represented with four positions each.

"We have been given a far-reaching mandate to not just participate in Games and board decision-making but empower Commonwealth athletes to advance the aims and objectives of the Commonwealth Sports Movement," the 45-year-old Simpson said. 

"I’d like to sincerely thank all of the newly-appointed Commission members, and I look forward to working alongside them to help develop and deliver the best and most inclusive-possible sporting experience for Commonwealth athletes at all levels."

Commission members will serve for four years and will be eligible to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.