Regional Vic wins Comm Games 2026 | Defender of the Great Lakes

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Regional Victoria will become the center of the international sporting universe after the state won a one-horse race to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. The multi-sport event will be held across the state in four years, a Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Tuesday. It is the first Commonwealth Games to be awarded to a state or region, with only cities previously selected throughout its 92-year history. Four hubs will be set up in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland – each with their own athlete villages – and Shepparton is also set to host events. The regional centers will host the entire program except for the opening ceremony, which has been locked down for the 100,000 capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground. Mr. Andrews said the event would be unlike any other and show what the state has to offer. “We’re not just doing a replay. It won’t be like before,” Mr Andrews told reporters at the Mars Stadium in Ballarat, which will be upgraded. It is estimated that the Games will inject $3 billion into the state’s economy, create 7,500 pre- and post-event jobs, and boost sports and affordable housing infrastructure. Mr Andrews said the cost of staging the 2026 sporting extravaganza will be revealed in the next state budget, which is due out on May 3. “It will cost a substantial amount … but I don’t see it as a cost,” he said. No funding has been set aside by the federal government, in interim mode ahead of the May 21 election, but Andrews would welcome any contribution. Commonwealth Games Federation chairwoman Dame Louise Martin says an initial list of 16 sports has been selected, including T20 cricket and rugby sevens. More sports will be added later in the year . Hosting rights for the 2026 event have come on the market after the English city of Birmingham in the Midlands replaced Durban in South Africa as host of the 2022 Games, which will be held from 28 July to August 8. With no other bidders, it was seen as a done deal Victoria would secure the event after the state government entered into exclusive negotiations with the Games’ governing body in February. Victoria Tourism Industry Council chief executive Felicia Mariani said the official announcement was the crowning achievement of Melbourne’s record-breaking event season. “We have well and truly left the mantle of ‘the most locked down city in the world’ behind us,” she said. Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the Liberals and Victoria Nationals support the concept of a region-focused Commonwealth Games in principle. “We’re not just supporting a blank check to do anything anytime, but what we’re supporting is a sensible plan,” he said. The Games were last held in Victoria in 2006 when Melbourne played host. This is the sixth time the event has taken place in Australia, most recently on the Gold Coast in 2018. WHERE WILL THE 2026 COMMONWEALTH GAMES EVENTS 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 at 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 Australian Associated Press

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