The 1998 XVI Commonwealth Games were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 11 to 21 September 1998. The 1998 games were the first held in an Asian country and the last Commonwealth Games of the 20th century. This was also the first time the games took place in a country with a head of state other than the Head of the Commonwealth. A record 69 nations (34 of which collected medals) competed, with 3,638 athletes participating. For the first time ever, the games included team sports.
The other bid from the 1998 games came from Adelaide in Australia.
69 teams were represented at the 1998 Games.
(Teams competing for the first time are shown in bold).
The 16th Commonwealth Games opening ceremony took place on 11 September 1998 at 17:30 MST (UTC+08:00). Contrary to tradition, the games were not officially opened by the Malaysian head of state, Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Jaafar because he was unable to arrive to the stadium in time. Instead, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, opened the games. The venue for the opening and closing ceremonies was the newly built National Stadium Bukit Jalil, a 100,000-spectator capacity stadium. The theme song "Malaysiaku Gemilang" was sung by Malaysian pop singers Norzila Binti Haji Aminuddin, Shahrul Anuar Zain, Siti Roziana Binti Zain, Shaheila binti Abdul Majid, Amy Mastura Binti Suhaimi, Ning Baizura binti Sheikh Hamzah, and Siti Nurhaliza Binti Tarudin—and many other Malaysian singers also performed. The games featured 15 sports with 3638 athletes as 69 teams were represented.
The theme of the opening ceremony was 'Unity towards Progress', which was conveyed through dance, music, and intricate human graphics. Malaysian schoolgirls unfurled hundreds of colourful umbrellas, and brightly attired performers danced. Approximately 5,000 volunteers displayed coloured cards which depicted sporting images, flags and messages that heralded the first Games in Asia in the 68 years since their inception. They created pictures of flags of the Commonwealth nations, scenes of Malaysian lifestyle, and depictions of Malaysian achievements just by changing the colour of their hand-held cards. The Singaporean delegation was jeered by the crowd during the parade of nations.
The Queen's message was delivered in the Queen's Baton, which arrived in the main square of Kuala Lumpur on elephant-back at the start of the ceremonies, and was run in relay to the stadium while the athletes marched in. 1978 Commonwealth Games badminton gold medal winner Sylvia Ng took the last lap with the baton and handed it off to Koh Eng Tong, a weightlifter who won a gold medal in weightlifting for Malaya in the 1950 British Empire Games, to take the final few feet to Prince Edward.
The end of the ceremony featured fireworks of various colours and shapes—forming hoops, flowers, and fountains. The opening ceremony's broadcast concluded at 00:00 MST, later than the time originally planned at 23:00 MST.
The Commonwealth Games's official theme, "Bersama-sama Gemilangkannya", was composed by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and performed in the opening ceremony by Search. Raihan was official theme song of the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
The logo for these games was inspired by the national flower of Malaysia, the hibiscus (the bunga raya), and was the first time that the colour yellow was introduced in the logo. (All previous logos had been red, white and blue to reflect the colours of the British Union Flag). The official mascot for the games was Wira (Malay for "warrior" or "hero") the orang utan.
The host nation was thrilled at achieving its best ever haul of ten gold medals which has since been surpassed by its achievement in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where Malaysia won twelve gold medals.
The 16th Commonwealth Games host newly introduced team sports of cricket, field hockey, netball and rugby sevens and individuals sports of ten-pin bowling and squash, while of athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, lawn bowls, shooting, swimming and weightlifting to make a total of 15 sports contested.
In front of 20,000-fans at the Petaling Jaya Stadium, rugby sevens in particular were an enormous success with New Zealand collecting its 100th Commonwealth Games medal with a 21–12 win over plucky Fiji, (the reigning world champions). Man of the match was the giant Jonah Lomu who had worked tirelessly during the 10-minutes each way final.
Led by veteran star David Campese, Australia took the bronze beating Samoa 33–12.
In the squash event many had anticipated a close match between Michelle Martin and Sarah Fitz-Gerald who had both comfortably won their respective semi-finals. Fitz-Gerald had won the previous two years world open and Michelle the three prior to that and so it was with some surprise to many that Martin took the gold in three straight sets 9–0, 9–6, 9–5. Fitz-Gerald did avenge this defeat in the final of the world championship later that year, in what many people regard as the greatest women's final ever, coming back from 8–2 down in the fifth to retain her title.
Martin also teamed up with Craig Rowland to take the commonwealth mixed doubles gold.
Erika-Leigh Stirton took five of the six available gold medals in the rhythmic gymnastics only being beaten into second place in the team event in the hosts took gold.
The games concluded on 21 September 1998. At the centre of the field, two "sports sculpture" performers rise gradually and show different athletic gestures slowly in the air, conveying the noble Commonwealth Games spirit. Other Malaysian dance were performed while the Main Stage in tune with the rhythm of the song form was primarily a Malaysia Day and Hari Merdeka entered the stadium, flew around the athletes and danced with all athletes in the stadium and millionaire marshals in tune with the rhythm of the song of folk music ethnics based in Kuala Lumpur forming a spectacular dance circle.
Finally, Malaysian festivals performers in festive clothes, millionaire performers of minority ethnic groups, Malaysian dance performances, millionaire collectors of launched red silk and Petronas Towers and Kuala Lumpur Tower performers threw the Wira lucky cloud yarn strips into the stadium, interacting with the athletes. At the same time, innumerable dazzling fireworks were launched from the top of the "bowl rim". Then, numerous fireworks formed a huge circle of fireworks, symbolising the successful conclusion of 1998 Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games's official theme which start song "Bersama-sama Gemilangkannya" was composed by Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra was performed in the opening ceremony by Search featuring. Raihan was official theme song of the 1998 Commonwealth Games. The nation that won the most medals during the 1998 Commonwealth Games was Australia. England came 2nd place, Canada came 3rd place and hosts Malaysia came in 4th place.National Stadium, Bukit Jalil—Opening/Closing Ceremony, Athletics
Putra Stadium, (Indoor) Bukit Jalil—Gymnastics
National Aquatic Centre—Swimming
National Hockey Stadium—Hockey
National Squash Centre—Squash
National Lawn Bowls Centre—Lawn Bowls
Cheras Veledrome, Kuala Lumpur—Track cycling
Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium—Badminton
Mines Convention Centre—Weightlifting
Shah Alam—Cycling road racing
Melawati Stadium, Shah Alam—Boxing
Pyramid Bowl, Sunway Pyramid, Subang Jaya—Tenpin bowling
Petaling Jaya Stadium, Petaling Jaya—Rugby
Langkawi International Shooting Range (Lisram) – Shooting