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Commonwealth Games hosts to get chance to select sports ‘relevant to their nation’


Dignataries, including Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at the opening of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Dignataries, including Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at the opening of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

New Zealand will be allowed to choose sports “relevant to the nation’’ if it hosts future Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) issued a new Strategic Road Map on Monday (Tuesday NZ time), stating athletics and swimming will be the only compulsory sports.

The CGF – soon to be headed by former New Zealand Olympic Games synchronised swimmer Katie Sadleir – sees 15 as the optimum name of Commonwealth Games sports.

The federation said: In a series of recommendations to increase hosting benefits and make the Games even more cost-effective, whilst engaging new audiences, the Commonwealth Sport 2026-2030 Strategic Roadmap invites future hosts to explore innovative concepts, including co-hosting and mass participation event.

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The co-hosting suggestion could enable New Zealand to share hosting with Australia.

A wider list of 22 core sports will be developed by the CGF, including disciplines that have previously been listed as optional sports such as T20 cricket, beach volleyball and 3×3 Basketball.

“This will allow hosts the ability to propose entirely new sports, relevant to their nation or culture, to enhance cultural showcasing and community engagement,’’ a CGF statement said.

Athletics and swimming have been ringfenced as compulsory sports ”due to their historical place on the programme since 1930 and based on universality, participation, broadcasting, spectator interest, Para inclusion and gender balance’’.

New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe after winning a para swimming gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Para sports are to remain an integrated part of future Games.

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe after winning a para swimming gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Para sports are to remain an integrated part of future Games.

The Strategic Roadmap – approved by the Commonwealth Games Associations’ General Assembly, which was held virtually, – states an integrated Para sport programme must remain a key, focal part of the Games;.

Future potential hosts will be encouraged to consider alternative athlete village solutions, rather than being required to accommodate athletes in a new build environment or on a single site.

International Federations are to be encouraged to propose new innovations and sports/disciplines to drive growth and youth engagement.

The CGF will continue to prioritise sustainability, social purpose and legacy planning as part of discussions with potential hosts.

Mass participation events as part of health and wellbeing programmes will also be encouraged.

New Zealand's Alana Barber takes silver in the womens 20km race walk at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

John Cowpland/Photosport

New Zealand’s Alana Barber takes silver in the womens 20km race walk at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

CGF president Dame Louise Martin said the Strategic Roadmap “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.”

The next Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham in 2022, but CGF is yet to appoint hosts for the 2026 and 2030 Games.

Australia are among the interested bidders for 2026.

The framed shirt Anne Audain wore winning the gold medal in the 3000m at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. Photo: Anne Audain

Anne Audain Collection/Newsroom

The framed shirt Anne Audain wore winning the gold medal in the 3000m at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. Photo: Anne Audain

The Commonwealth Games began as the Empire Games with the first event hosted by Hamilton, Ontario in 1930.

New Zealand has hosted the Games three times – in Auckland (1950 and 1990) and Christchurch (1974).

The last Commonwealth Games, on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018, drew 4426 athletes from 71 nations across 18 sports comprising 275 events.

Sadleir, who has left her World Rugby role as general manager of women’s rugby, takes over as Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive in November.

Her staff will include former Black Caps cricketer Richard de Groen, a former New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games team manager, who has been CGF development director since 2008.



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