THERE have been questions raised of late whether the Commonwealth Games is still relevant.
The biggest issue with the games is the uneven level of competition as some world class athletes feel it is a waste of time to compete in the quadrennial meet.
For instance, Usain Bolt, the world record holder in the 100m and 200m, skipped the 2010 edition because it was at the wrong time in his season, and four years later in Glasgow, the Jamaican only bothered to run in the 4x100m.
For the record, Bolt never competed in any Commonwealth Games individual event.
While Bolt may have his reasons for not taking the Commonwealth Games seriously, for Malaysia and other nations, the event is a platform for their athletes to gauge their standards against the best.
The performances of swimmers Tern Jian Han, Welson Sim and Chan Jie, along with sprinter Zaidatul Husniah, may not have put Malaysia on the world map but they have certainly made inroads in terms of progress.
Jian Han not only reached the final of the 50m backstroke but also smashed Lim Keng Liat's 16-year record while Welson, though failing to break his national record, reached the final of the 400m freestyle.
The little-known Chan Jie also surprised many by reaching the 100m butterfly semi-finals.
While the focus was on 100m sprinter Khairul Hafiz Jantan, compatriot Zaidatul grabbed headlines by becoming the first Malaysian, since G. Shanti in the 1998 edition, to qualify for the semi-finals in athletics.
These athletics have definitely made progress, but they will need to do more to match the best in the world.
The powerful field in their respective events here at the Gold Coast probably gave the quartet the drive and spirit to go an extra mile.
So, the Commonwealth Games is definitely still relevant, maybe not for the Olympic champions, but it certainly is for Malaysian athletes.