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Asia

Population figures correct as at August 2004.

Bangladesh
Population 129,146,695
Capital Dhaka
Language Bengali, Bihari, Hindi, English, local languages
Religion Sunni Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, Christian
Flag of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a South Asian nation located adjacent to the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh’s population ranks 7th in the world, but its area 100th, making it one of the nations with the highest population density.

Bangladesh has a strong agricultural base, engaging two-thirds of the workforce. Food crops include rice, wheat, fruit and pulses. The main industries produce fertilisers, iron and steel, paper and glass as well as agricultural, marine and timber products.
 
Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 when Bengali East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan. They joined the Commonwealth in 1972, and appeared at the 1978 Games. Their first medals came in 1990 in New Zealand, where they picked up a gold and bronze in the shooting.

Since that time, they have only won one more medal – a gold in Manchester to Asif Hossain Khan in the Men’s Individual Air Rifle.

View the final list of medallists from Bangladesh at Melbourne 2006
See photo and highlights of the Queen's Baton Relay in Bangladesh


Brunei Darussalam
Population 330,689
Capital Bandar Seri Begawan
Language Malay, English, Chinese
Religion Sunni Muslim, Buddhist, Christian
Flag of Brunei Darussalam

Negara Brunei Darussalam, more commonly referred to as the Sultanate of Brunei or simply Brunei, is located on the island of Borneo, in south-east Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, it is completely surrounded by East Malaysia.

With a tropical, humid climate, Brunei’s small, wealthy economy is a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition.

The Sultanate of Brunei was very powerful from the 14th through the 16th century. Its realm covered the southern Philippines, Sarawak and Sabah. Brunei was a British protectorate from 1888 to 1984, when they joined the Commonwealth. They made their Games debut in 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand.

With appearances at every Games since, Brunei is yet to taste medal success in the Commonwealth Games.

View the final list of medallists from Brunei Darussalam at Melbourne 2006
See photo and highlights of the Queen's Baton Relay in Brunei Darussalam


India
Population 986,611,000
Capital New Delhi
Language Hindi, English (official) and many regional languages
Religion Hindu, Sunni Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist
Flag of India

India is a South Asian nation that has a coastline of over seven thousand kilometres, borders Pakistan to the west, the People's Republic of China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. It is the most populous Commonwealth nation.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing account for one third of national output and two thirds of employment. India is a major world producer of tea, sugar, jute, cotton, tobacco, chemical products and steel.

Much of India came under British control in 1857. The non-violent struggle for independence culminated on 1947 when India gained full independence from British rule and joined the Commonwealth, before becoming a republic in 1950. Appearing at 12 Games since 1934, Delhi, India has been selected to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

India has claimed 223 medals, including 80 gold across its Games appearances, with a stunning haul of 69 medals in Manchester, including a nail-biting win over England to claim gold in the Women’s Hockey.

View the final list of medallists from India at Melbourne 2006
See photo and highlights of the Queen's Baton Relay in India


Malaysia
Population 21,820,143
Capital Kuala Lumpur
Language Malay, English, Chinese, Tamil
Religion Sunni Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, traditional beliefs
Flag of Malaysia

Malaysia consists of two geographical regions divided by the South China Sea. West Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula shares a land border to the north with Thailand, while East Malaysia, occupies the northern part of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the Sultanate of Brunei.

Malaysia has a tropical climate with heavy rainfall. It is the world's largest producer of tin, palm oil, pepper and tropical hardwoods. High economic growth recently has come from manufacturing. With over 7 million visitors a year, tourism is also a major industry.

During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation. Malaysia joined the Commonwealth in 1957 and made their debut in the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica at which they won a total of five medals.  The first Asian nation to host the Games in 1998, Malaysia has 99 medals, including 27 gold, from nine Games appearances.

Manchester saw massive success for Malaysia in the Badminton competition, where they dominated with three golds in the Men’s Singles and Men’s and Women’s Doubles.

View the final list of medallists from Malaysia at Melbourne 2006
See photo and highlights of the Queen's Baton Relay in Malaysia


Maldives
Population 278,000
Capital Male
Language Divehi (Maldivian), English
Religion Sunni Muslim
Flag of Maldives

Maldives is an island nation consisting of the Maldive group of atolls and the Suvadive group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south of Laccadive group of islands of India, about 700 kilometres south-west of Sri Lanka. The 26 atolls encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, roughly 200 of which are inhabited by people.

The climate is hot, humid and monsoonal. The islands depend mainly on fishing and fish processing, light manufacturing (chiefly clothing) and tourism.

Although governed as an independent Islamic sultanate for most of its history from 1153 to 1968, Maldives was a British protectorate from 1887 until July 25, 1965. After independence from Britain in 1965, the sultanate continued to operate for another 3 years. On November 11, 1968, it was abolished and replaced by a republic, and the country assumed its present name. The Republic of Maldives entered the Commonwealth during 1982, and made its Games debut in 1986.

Attending every Games since, Maldives has yet to claim a medal in Commonwealth Games competition.

View the final list of medallists from Maldives at Melbourne 2006
See photo and highlights of the Queen's Baton Relay in Maldives


Pakistan
Population 146,488,000
Capital Islamabad
Language Urdu (official), Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushtu, English
Religion Sunni Muslim, Shi'a Muslim, Christian, Hindu
Flag of Pakistan

Pakistan is located in South Asia, and overlaps onto the Greater Middle East and Central Asia. It borders Iran, Afghanistan, China, India and the Arabian Sea.

Agriculture is the main sector of the economy, employing about half the workforce and accounting for over two-thirds of export earnings.

Under British rule until 1947, when British India was divided into Pakistan (East and West) and India, Pakistan was a member of the Commonwealth from 1947 until 1972, during which time they participated in five British Empire and Commonwealth Games, beginning in 1954. They rejoined the Commonwealth in 1989, and have attended every Games since 1990, claiming 55 medals over the years, including 21 golds.

Boxer Haider Ali picked up Pakistan’s only gold in Manchester when he defeated England’s Darren Langley in the Featherweight final bout.

View the final list of medallists from Pakistan at Melbourne 2006
See photo and highlights of the Queen's Baton Relay in Pakistan


Singapore
Population 3,999,000
Capital Singapore
Language Chinese, English, Malay, Tamil
Religion Christian, Hindu Buddhist, Taoist, Sunni Muslim
Flag of Singapore

Singapore is an island city-state and the smallest country in Southeast Asia, situated on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of the Indonesian Riau Islands.

Manufacturing industries and services are the main sectors of the economy. The main industries include electronics, oil refining, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, ship building, iron and steel, food processing and textiles. Singapore is a major financial centre and has one of the world's busiest ports.

Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. Singapore joined the Commonwealth in 1965, and has taken part in every Commonwealth Games since 1950, claiming 22 medals, including eight golds in that time.

The Manchester Games marked Singapore’s most successful haul, taking home 13 medals, including three Table Tennis golds in the Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles and Team events.

View the final list of medallists from Singapore at Melbourne 2006
See photo and highlights of the Queen's Baton Relay in Singapore


Sri Lanka
Population 19,003,000
Capital Colombo
Language Sinhalese, Tamil, English
Religion Buddhist, Hindu, Sunni Muslim, Roman Catholic
Flag of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a tropical island nation off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent, about 30km south of India.

The climate is hot and monsoonal. Manufactures chiefly textiles and clothing, while tea, rubber, copra and gems are exported.

Occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century, the island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. It made its first Games appearance in Sydney in 1938, picking up a gold in boxing, and has attended 12 Games, winning a total of nine medals, including three golds.

Although unsuccessful in Manchester, Sri Lanka won three medals in Kuala Lumpur and looks to be a strong challenger across the board in Melbourne.

View the final list of medallists from Sri Lanka at Melbourne 2006
See photo and highlights of the Queen's Baton Relay in Sri Lanka

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