Chris Jenkins, new president of the Commonwealth Games Federation

Chris Jenkins, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) and a leader with a rich history has been elected as the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) at its General Assembly in Singapore. He will succeed Dame Louise Martin of Scotland, who has served as President for nearly a decade, from 2014 

With a career in business and sport spanning decades, his journey began when he represented Wales as a rower at the 1986 Commonwealth Games, before going on to serve as CEO of Commonwealth Games Wales for 16 years, as well as serving as Vice President of the CGF and Chairman of the CGF Development Committee.

He received massive support from the General Assembly, with 64 votes from the 74 member nations and territories, compared with the 10 of his only opponent Kereyn Smith CNZM, the former CEO of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Association (NZOC) and Vice President of the CGF. 

In his campaign, Jenkins pledged to transform the Games and ensure that they move towards a truly sustainable model with three key commitments:

Chris Jenkins, the new Commonwealth Games Federation President. © Getty Images
Chris Jenkins, the new Commonwealth Games Federation President. © Getty Images

1. Guide the Commonwealth Games to a sustainable model to attract host cities: Jenkins will transform the Games, reducing the cost of hosting and exploring innovative solutions to enable more countries to host.

2. Develop and strengthen the Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs): drawing on his experience as Vice President, Jenkins will raise the profile of Commonwealth Sport, and each CGA in their own country, with a youth-focused media strategy that builds on the CGF's reputation for doing things differently. He will also support the CGAs to expand their capacity through the regional delivery of development programmes.

3. Make sure all voices are heard: Jenkins is passionate about ensuring that all CGAs, from the smallest to the largest, have a voice within the movement and meaningful participation at every Games. To help achieve this, he will maintain open lines of communication, form smaller groups of CGAs to provide input on specific challenges, and ensure that all meetings and the Games themselves are spread across the Commonwealth so that everyone can participate.

Following his election, Chris Jenkins OBE said "I am deeply honoured and humbled and would like to thank all those across the movement who have placed their trust in me. I would also like to pay tribute to Kereyn for her dedicated service and many years of sporting friendship, which I know will continue long into the future."

"As an organisation, we will evolve and innovate to encourage more cities to host these wonderful Games. I am committed to managing change, delivering on promises, and making things happen.. Together we will ensure a sustainable and inspiring future for our Commonwealth Games family."

Chris Jenkins and Katie Sadler, in Singapur after General Assembly. © Getty Images
Chris Jenkins and Katie Sadler, in Singapur after General Assembly. © Getty Images

Katie Sadleir, CEO of the CGF, remarked: "Today's elections mark a new chapter for the Commonwealth Games Federation. The election of Chris Jenkins as President signals a transformational era ahead, under his leadership the movement will focus on sustainable development, whilst continuing to be a beacon of unity, diversity, and equality."

The CGF announced the election of three new Vice Presidents: Sandra Osborne (Barbados), Hugh Graham (Cook Islands), and Dr Donald Rukare (Uganda). Six regional Vice Presidents were also elected to the Board: Africa: Colonel Botsang Tshenyego (Botswana); the Americas: Judy Simons (Bermuda); Asia: Christopher Chan (Singapore); Caribbean: Ephraim Penn (British Virgin Islands); Europe: Helen Phillips MBE (Wales); and Oceania: Craig Philips (Australia).

Orders of Merit were awarded by the CGF to Mike Stanley, CNZM, New Zealand, Robert McVeigh, Northern Ireland, and Michael Cavanagh OBE, Scotland. In addition, Fortuna Belrose, St Lucia, and Miriam Moyo, Zambia, were made Honorary Life Members, and Bruce Robertson, Canada, Life Vice-President, in recognition of outstanding service to the Federation.