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Victoria's regions win right to host 2026 Commonwealth Games

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Regional Victoria will take centre stage on the international sports calendar after the state won a one-horse race to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

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The multi-sport event for Commonwealth nations will be held across the state in four years’ time, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Tuesday.

Four regional hubs will be established in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland – each with an athletes’ village  – and Shepparton will also host events.

The 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground has been locked in to host the opening ceremony.

Andrews said it would be a Games like no other.

“It will be the greatest spotlight, the greatest showcase of all that we have to offer,” he told reporters in Ballarat.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Dame Louise Martin said an initial list of 16 sports had been selected, including T20 cricket and rugby sevens.

Further sports would be added later in the year.

It is the first time the Commonwealth Games have been awarded to a state or region in its 92-year history, usually selecting a city instead.

Hosting rights for the 2026 event hit the market after the English midlands city of Birmingham replaced South Africa’s Durban as host of the 2022 Games, to be held from July 28 to August 8.

With no other bidders for 2026, Victoria was considered a strong favourite to secure the event after the state government entered exclusive negotiations with the Games’ governing body in February.

The Games last came to Victoria in 2006, when Melbourne played host. It is the sixth time the event has been held in Australia, most recently on the Gold Coast in 2018.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the Victorian Liberal/Nationals supported the concept of a regional-focused Commonwealth Games in principle.

“We don’t support just a blank cheque to do anything at anytime but what we do support is a sensible plan to go forward,” he said.

The costs of hosting the Games will be revealed in the upcoming state budget, due to be released on May 3.

WHERE 2026 COMMONWEALTH GAMES EVENTS WILL BE HELD:
Aquatics (Swimming, Para Swimming and Diving) – Geelong
Athletics and Para Athletics – Ballarat
Badminton – Gippsland
Beach Volleyball – Geelong
Boxing – Ballarat
Cricket T20 – Geelong, Gippsland, Ballarat, Bendigo
Cycling – Gippsland to Bendigo
Gymnastics – Geelong
Hockey – Geelong
Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls – Bendigo
Netball – Bendigo
Rugby Sevens – Gippsland
Squash – Bendigo
Table Tennis and Para Table Tennis – Geelong
Triathlon and Para Triathlon – Geelong
Weightlifting and Para Powerlifting – Bendigo

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