WELSH sports administrator Chris Jenkins says he is ‘honoured’ to be made head of the Commonwealth Games Federation after winning a special vote of national association delegates in Singapore.

Former Team Wales CEO Chris, who lives near Abergavenny and used to train with the national rowing team at Monmouth, won a landslide 64-10 vote to beat former New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith. 

Opening ceremony of 2022 Commonwealth Games BBC/Facebook

Before flying out, he outlined his vision of a more sustainable future for the Games in an exclusive filmed interview with our reporter and 1986 Wales Commonwealth Games rowing crew mate Nick Hartland that was watched worldwide by CG delegates. 

And having won the vote last Wednesday (Nov 15), Chris said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled to be elected President of the Commonwealth Games Federation and would like to thank all those across the Movement who put 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 a Movement 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. 

“Working together, we will ensure a sustainable and inspiring future for our Commonwealth Games family.”

First up for former GCF vice-president Chris and the federation will be finding a host for the 2026 Games after the recent withdrawal of Victoria in Australia, who cited spiralling costs for pulling the plug.

But as he revealed before flying out, his medium to long-term aim is to put the Games on a securer footing by remodelling them into a more sustainable format, including making it accessible for more venues to host. 

He wants to ensure all member CG associations’ voices are heard, “from the smallest to the largest”, and have “meaningful participation at every Games”. 

The CGF said after his election: “To help achieve this, he will keep open lines of communication, form smaller groups of CGAs to provide input into specific challenges and ensure all meetings and the Games themselves are spread around the Commonwealth to allow all to participate.”

As he also revealed in his interview with us, he also aims to develop and strengthen the associations by using his experience of financial management in the City, sports administration and the Games to raise the profile of Commonwealth sport, and each CGA within their own country.

Key to that will be a youth-focused media strategy which embraces the CGF’s reputation for doing things differently, and supporting CGAs to expand their capacity through regional delivery of development programmes.

Chris, whose experience of the Games goes back to 1986 in Edinburgh when he was a member of the Wales team as a rowing cox, was made an OBE for services to sport earlier this year.

The former chair of Welsh Rowing joined Commonwealth Games Wales in 2005 and served as CEO from 2010 to 2022, overseeing Team Wales across five Games and four Youth Games.

During that time, he contributed extensively to the CGF as one of its three vice-presidents and chair of the federation’s Development Committee.

The CGF said: “This has equipped him with a profound understanding of the Movement and its potential. 

“Jenkins’ dedication to the Commonwealth Sport Movement is further demonstrated through his ongoing academic pursuits, where he is completing a PhD on a new sustainable model for the Commonwealth Games.”

In a double win for Wales, joint Commonwealth Games Wales and British Gymnastics president Helen Phillips MBE, from Merthyr, was voted onto the Board of the CGF as Regional Vice President for Europe.

She said: “I am thrilled to be given a strong mandate by members to become the Regional Vice President for Europe on the Commonwealth Games Federation board. 

“The Commonwealth movement is something I am passionate about, and I am committed to supporting the team to ensure a Commonwealth Games is found for the next cycle and the future of this unique event is secure.”

CGW chair Gareth Davies added ‘It’s excellent news to have both Helen and Chris voted onto the CGF Board. 

“They have both demonstrated exceptional commitment to the Commonwealth Games, both at CGF level and with Team Wales. 

“I have no doubt they will do an outstanding job in their respective roles going forward. 

“We as CGW look forward to working under Chris’ leadership over the coming months and years and I would like to congratulate them both on behalf of the CGW Board and members on their well-deserved appointments.”