Fresh hope for 2026 Commonwealth Games

Source: X

A statement from the Commonwealth Games Federation given to a wire service on Monday suggests things are back on track for hosting the 2026 edition of the Commonwealth Games.

There is fresh hope the 2026 Games will not be abandoned, as the CGF is in talks with “many counties” but wants to keep things under wraps now. Once Victoria state, Australia, decided to opt out as hosts, there has been massive confusion. Many countries from Asia were approached but both Singapore and Malaysia turned down requests to host the Games due to prohibitive costs.

In fact, the grapevine says Britan was approached as well, again, but they are not interested. For the record, after Birmingham hosted the CWG in 2022, they are unable to make up losses sustained. The Games were not held in a lavish manner, for the record.

The latest one hears is Victoria state will offer the CGF a compensation package so that the next host country or countries will not face the burden. With a little over two years to go for the next edition, the CGF has been fighting plenty of criticism. There is a school of thought which feels the Games are a waste of time and money. What began as the Imperial Games in 1930 had become the CWG, but the Commonwealth Movement, per se, is losing significance in modern day geopolitics.

Closing ceremony Birmingham. Source: X

“Significant progress has been made and we are excited by the early concepts, which aim to reset and reframe the Games,” the CGF said in a statement following its April meeting. “We are working collaboratively with the relevant (members) to undertake further detailed assessments, and aim to announce the 2026 Commonwealth Games host in May,” it added.

News of the CWG coming back on rails is good. In comparison to the Asian Games and the blue-riband Olympics, the CWG is considered “low standard.” RevSportz spoke to a few officials who were part of the CWG 2010 OC (Organising Committee). They were not willing to come on record as the CGF has taken it up as a prestige issue now.

“I think whatever is left of the Commonwealth Movement, the Games must be held. Any major competition for Indian athletes and other nations part of the Commonwealth definitely want another CWG to be held in 2026. Let me be honest, there will never be another CWG as lavish as what New Delhi hosted in 2010,” said the official, who still plays an active role in the Olympic Movement and ensuring the Asian Games maintains highest standards as host.

The biggest problem in hosting the CWG is financial burden. After New Delhi hosted it in 2010, the 2014 edition was held in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2018, the Games returned to Gold Coast, Australia. Birmingham as 2022 hosts had to do a lot of cost cutting but pulled off a good Games.

Most officials RevSportz spoke to felt the concept of one city hosting the CWG is no longer feasible. Maybe, in May, when the CGF announces the details, there could be joint hosts. Asia has been reluctant but Africa, described as the dark continent may be a willing host.

The way ahead will be splitting host cities and cutting on the number of sporting disciplines. “Africa cannot be ruled out, provided they get financial backing. They are definitely, still, an active player in the Commonwealth Movement,” added another source.

Just to jog the readers’ memory, there was plenty of heartburn after the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast when it was announced shooting would be off the programme. It is one discipline which has brought India plenty of medals.

There was a proposal for the 2022 CWG that India host the shooting and wrestling competition. Parlays were held but Birmingham did not agree. Two years hence, a lot has changed. There could be joint hosts, and further clipping the programme. The good news is, the CWG is not being given a quiet burial.

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