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Athletics, swimming the only sure starters in lean new Comm Games


Future Commonwealth Games hosts are to be allowed more flexibility in sports, locations and athlete accommodation with a view to reducing costs and encouraging more bidders.

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The 2026 and 2030 Games, neither of which yet have hosts, will be able to include locally significant sports, and follow the Olympics in adopting ‘urban’ sports such as skateboarding to attract a new audience.

The optimum number of sports is viewed as 15 with only athletics and aquatics compulsory in the new strategic road-map approved by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) on Monday.

Birmingham is hosting Commonwealth Games 2022 after Durban was stripped of the award after a series of missed deadlines and financial difficulties. The CGF was left with only Birmingham and Liverpool as potential replacements.

The 2026 hosts were due to be announced in 2019. Australia, Canada, India and Sri Lanka are reported to be interested in 2026 but as yet no city has bid. It is thought Canada would prefer 2030, the centenary of Hamilton hosting the inaugural event, then called the British Empire Games.

Co-hosting within regions or across cities, along with mass participation events making use of facilities or linked to the Games, will be among the “innovative concepts” encouraged among bidders.

Bidders will also be able to propose the inclusion of sports of cultural relevance in that particular country – such as kabaddi in India or lacrosse in Canada for instance.

Sports that have been optional in the past – such as T20 cricket and 3v3 basketball – have moved on to a 22-strong core sports list.

The changes will concern some traditional disciplines, such as netball and squash.

The provision of a bespoke athletes’ village will no longer be a requirement for a host city, but an integrated para sport programme must remain a key, focal part of any Games.

The changes have been made to provide greater flexibility to would-be hosts, recognising the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the ability to put on a multi-sport Games.

CGF president Dame Louise Martin said: “We are delighted to unveil our direction of travel with this new strategic road-map, which I believe marks the start of an exciting new era for the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth sport.

“Our Games need to adapt, evolve and modernise to ensure we continue to maintain our relevance and prestige across the Commonwealth.

“After a long period of hard work and consultation, incorporating the views and opinions of our membership and experts across the world, we are excited to move forwards with this road-map.”

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