The inaugural games were held in June 2008 in Nairobi Kenya, as a Golden Jubilee initiative to drive unity, as well as to promote a healthy body and mind, and to promote  fitness and camaraderie through sports across the global Ismaili Jamat.

Team UK participated in the Jubilee Games for the second time, with a total of 114 athletes, representing four countries from the UK jurisdiction Jamat, playing 11 sports. The youngest athlete was 18 and the oldest athlete was 68!

Team UK is a diverse and cosmopolitan Jamat with representatives from outside UK jurisdiction countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda. Team UK, whilst not being the largest contingent, was able to secure five gold medals in table tennis, golf and swimming and a bronze medal for ladies football, ranking Team UK 4th out of the 17 countries that participated in the Games.

Voluntary service, a tradition that has run through our community for centuries, was embodied not just amongst the athletes who gave their time and knowledge but also amid the Jamati members who gave of their time as coaches, officials, managers and personal-trainers months before and in the run up to the Games.

Mawlana Hazar Imam has been an advocate of sports which has filtered down to all of his children. In 1997, Princess Zahra inaugurated a purpose-built fitness centre in Karimabad, Karachi to improve the quality of life of its users. She said: “Based on research, the gentle balance of exercise and a balanced diet could improve quality of life and even extend the lives of people...Staying active and healthy should be a priority of  people of any age.”

Princess Zahra, 4th September 1997

This sentiment was echoed by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development in his speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Jubilee Games in Dubai:

 “I am certain that His Highness the Aga Khan strongly supports the notion that sport enriches our lives. Sport has always proven to be a wonderful medium for countries, communities, and individuals to gain cross-cultural understanding and to build friendships with others who share the same values and interests. Sport calls upon us to appreciate human achievement in a way that crosses boundaries of nationality, religion, and gender. It enhances teamwork skills, individual talent, problem solving, fitness, hard work, healthy competition and peaceful coexistence and, in the end, it makes us better people and the world a better place for all.”

This mind-set was shared by all at the Games, including Team UK who were commended for their team spirit by athletes, officials and spectators from other countries in their unity, support and friendships both within Team UK but also beyond.  Prince Rahim referred to this as the “spirit of friendship and peace”, which the Games looked to foster and was reflected in the atmosphere of the Global Village.

Competition was often of the highest degree and the Games showcased some of the greatest sporting ability in our Jamat. Yet all participants, spectators and volunteers were winners simply by successfully integrating together, sharing their cultures and coming together as One Jamat.

Visit the Jubilee Games Homepage here: