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Athletics - 30. May 2009.

Dame Kelly Holmes: My new role as President of Commonwealth Games England

I have been genuinely touched by the range and breadth of support and personal messages the recent announcement of my new role as President of Commonwealth Games England (CGE) has brought me.


Let’s face it, when you are given an opportunity like this, there are always a few people who might grumble, and think they or someone else should have been put in the post but so far I have had really positive backing so that's great. 


I was, as I have said in numerous interviews, incredibly honoured to have been asked, and to succeed Sir Chris Chataway (himself a formidable athlete in his field) after a 15 year term.


I am not sure how long I will be in post but I always take my roles seriously and it’s great to have an opportunity like this to show the other attributes that being a retired sports person can bring.


Of course, I am still learning what it takes to really make a difference in these types of role and I think it would be fantastic to see the sport system making the most of other ex-elite performers, utilising our skills, knowledge and expertise that we have gained through achieving at the highest level in sport.


Actually this is some of the work that I have been leading just recently through my charity, the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust and it is fantastic for me to have the opportunity to "walk the walk" by using my experience as ‘home grown talent’ to shape and influence the work of Commonwealth Games England.


I mean it’s great to have been in the system, performed at the highest level and achieved success in the field that I am now involved in. Few people remember that my first gold medal was at the Commonwealth Games in 1994 (picutred) and after that I achieved silver in 1998 and gold in 2002.


Certainly, as the eyes of the world look to London and the build up to the Olympic Games, they are surely going to be looking at the performance of the Home Nations at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi next year, building to London 2012 and then beyond into Glasgow 2014. No question about it, the expectations will be huge. But I really believe we are well placed to rise to the occasion and produce some exceptional performances across the board.

So, what are the challenges in my role and for CGE? Firstly, I think we need to see the Commonwealth Games as a significant event in it’s own right. I think the Commonwealth Games at Manchester in 2002 was a fantastic occasion, and gave a superb platform for many competitors, (myself included!) to enjoy the experience of a multi-sport event.

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