Athletics has been a compulsory sport on the Commonwealth Games program from the beginning. There were 21 events at the inaugural Games in 1930 - 12 track, eight field, plus the marathon - all for men. England won gold in nine events and Canada six.
One-hundred metre track World Champion Kim Collins has proudly waved the St Kitts and Nevis flag at the Commonwealth Games in the past.
Nine women's events were added four years later for the London Games, bringing the number of events to 30. This time England won 16 gold medals, Canada five, South Africa five and Australia, Scotland, New Zealand and Guyana one each.
The Athletics program was largely unchanged until 1970, when distances were changed to metric and an extra four women's events were added.
Since then, the number of women's events has gradually increased, one or two at a time - including the introduction of the women's marathon in 1986 - until Manchester, where there was near equality with 22 women's and 24 men's events.
Events for Elite Athletes with a Disability (EAD) were added in 2002.
Australia and England have dominated the medal count and, in the 14 Games since 1950, honours have been shared with seven wins each.
At the home Games in Melbourne next March, Australia has a great opportunity to win back the title it surrendered in 2002, by just one medal (29-28).
In Previous Games
England's 29-medal haul was made up of 12 golds, 6 silvers and 11 bronzes, while Australia collected 9 gold, 9 silver and 10 bronze medals. Kenya's 16 medals included 4 golds (8 silver, 4 bronze), Jamaica had 4 golds (6 silver, 4 bronze) in its 14-medal haul while South Africa had the third most gold medals with 5 (1 silver, 2 bronze).
Overall 23 countries won medals in the athletics competition, including St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, Botswana, Cameroon and Namibia.
Kim COLLINS flew the St Kitts and Nevis flag with his win in the Men's 100m and Namibia's Frankie FRDERICKS claimed the 200m, while Debbie FERGUSON of the Bahamas took the Women's 100-200m double.
Other prominent names who collected gold medals included England's Kelly HOLMES (Women's 1500m), Paula RADCLIFFE (Women's 5000m), Chris RAWLINSON (Men's 400m Hurdles) and Jonathan EDWARDS (Men's Triple Jump), Kenyans Stephen CHERONO (Men's 3000m Steeplechase), Sammy KIPKETER (Men's 5000m) and Wilberforce TALEL (Men's 10,000m), Australians Jane JAMIESON (Women's Heptathlon), Jana PITTMAN (Women's 400m Hurdles), Jane SAVILLE (Women's 20km Walk) and Tatiana GRIGORIEVA (Women's Pole Vault), Jamaicans Claston BERNARD (Men's Decathlon) and Michael BLACKWOOD (Men's 400m) and Maria MUTOLA of Mozambique (Women's 800m).
At Melbourne 2006
The track and field competition will be held over seven days, with 53 gold medals (including six for EAD athletes) being contested. There will be 30 track events (four of which are EAD), 18 field events (including two EAD) and five on the road.
Most events, including the beginning and end of the Marathon, will take place at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which has undergone a major facelift for the Games.
The Walks will be held at the new Docklands precinct (DOW).
The Women's 3000m Steeplechase will be held for the first time at a Commonwealth Games.