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Regional Victoria Is Officially Hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games

The MCG will host the opening ceremony — then four regional hubs will be set up in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, each with their own athletes’ village and sport program.
By Sarah Ward
April 12, 2022
By Sarah Ward
April 12, 2022

What'll start at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, then spread plenty of sports around Victoria? Every year, the AFL season does just that — but soon, the Commonwealth Games will as well. Just four years out from the event, and mere months away from 2022's games in Birmingham, England, regional Victoria has been named as the event's 2026 host.

While the opening ceremony will take over the MCG — where else? — the games themselves will play out in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland. Each spot will operate as regional hub, scoring their own athletes' village and sports programs, and spreading the event around the state in the process.

Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria

And, because the 2026 Commonwealth Games really are set to take advantage of as much of Victoria as they can, Shepparton will also host sporting and cultural events, too. If you're wondering exactly what'll be hosted where, it's been proposed that all of the aquatics events happen in Geelong, as well as hockey, gymnastics, table tennis, beach volleyball and the triathlon. Gippsland could host badminton and rugby, athletics and boxing has been earmarked for Ballarat, and Bendigo looks set to welcome weightlifting, lawn bowls and squash.

The cycling program will likely take place from Gippsland to Bendigo, while Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland would all host cricket.

And, there'll be a para sport program as well, with para athletics, para swimming, para lawn bowls, para table tennis, para triathlon and para powerlifting already locked in.

Announcing the news, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that "it's a great honour to have Victoria chosen as the host venue for the 2026 Commonwealth Games — we can't wait to welcome the world to all of our state."

It's estimated the 2026 games will give the Victorian economy a$3 billion boost, creating more than 600 full-time jobs before the event, as well as 3900 jobs while they're on and another 3000 afterwards.

The Commonwealth Games will also feature cultural events spread across the state, and the Queen's Baton Relay will race through Victoria's various regions in the weeks leading up to the opening ceremony.

And yes, Australia only recently held the games, back in 2018 on the Gold Coast. Also, this means that Australia will host two huge sporting events in the next decade, given that Brisbane has already been locked in as the site for the 2032 Olympic Games.

The 2026 Commonwealth Games will take place in regional Victoria in 2026, with exact dates to be announced. For more information, head to the Commonwealth Games website and Victorian Government website.

Top image: StephenK1997 via Flickr.

Published on April 12, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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