Gold Coast mayor says city ready to step in as 2026 Commonwealth Games hosts

By Sports Desk July 20, 2023

Gold Coast is ready to step in and host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, the Australian city’s mayor has said.

Gold Coast staged the Games in 2018 and its mayor Tom Tate said it is “Games ready” after the state of Victoria withdrew as 2026 hosts earlier this week.

Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews cited a rise in estimated costs to at least six billion Australian dollars (just under £3.2bn) as he announced the withdrawal on Tuesday.

“The premier of Victoria’s lemon, the Gold Coast can turn that into lemonade because that’s how we roll,” Tate said in quotes reported by ABC in Australia.

“We can highlight once more that the Gold Coast is going ahead in leaps and bounds.”

Tate said hosting 2026 would give the state of Queensland “momentum” in its journey towards state capital Brisbane hosting the 2032 Olympic Games, but warned federal government funding initially earmarked for Victoria would need to be redirected to his city to make it happen.

Athletics Australia welcomed Tate’s comments, but Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said all efforts must remain focused on the 2032 Olympics.

“Even though the Gold Coast is a wonderful venue, it does have the venues and the infrastructure, it does have the transport, but we cannot afford to spend more money on another games,” she said.

ABC reported Tate had already made contact with officials at the Commonwealth Games Federation, which has been contacted for comment.

CGF chief executive Katie Sadleir told the PA news agency earlier this week her organisation was “open” to offers from any countries interested in hosting, including those within the UK.

A spokesman for London mayor Sadiq Khan said he “stood ready” to support a submission for 2026 but that any decision would need to be taken by the British Government.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf said his country would explore the possibility of stepping in, possibly as part of a multi-country bid.

Commonwealth Games Scotland chair Ian Reid has a strong track record in Games delivery, having served as chief financial officer for the Glasgow 2014 organising committee and as chief executive of the Birmingham 2022 Games.

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    Glasgow could step in with a scaled-back offering should no other host be found for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
    Last week, Singapore joined Malaysia in ruling out a bid, after the Australian state of Victoria withdrew as host in July because of rising costs.
    Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) say their proposal would involve "no significant ask of public funds".
    It would include a core programme of 10 to 13 sports - down from 20 at Birmingham 2022. The last resort plan would "utilise existing venues and accommodation options" in Glasgow, where the Games were held in 2014.
    This week the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) said it was "considering multiple proposals" amid continued uncertainty over the event's long-term future.
    "Our priority is to ensure a Games takes place in 2026 and we are encouraged by the news that the CGF are in advanced discussions with other nations. However, if an alternative solution cannot be secured within the coming weeks, we are ready to explore our concept with the CGF and key partners in greater detail, with the aim of delivering a world class-sporting event in Scotland using a model that could be replicated across the Commonwealth for future editions," CGS said.
    "A feasibility study was commissioned in December 2023 to assess Scotland's viability as a cost-effective alternative host, following the CGF's decision to make available £100m to host nations for a 2026 Games as part of the Victoria settlement agreement.
    "We are satisfied that the concept developed could see a refreshed format for the Games, that would see it be delivered on time and on budget, providing significant benefit to the Scottish economy and a potential blueprint for a sustainable Games model of the future," it added.
    CGS also pointed out that additional funding for the estimated £130-150m budget would come from commercial income, including ticketing, sponsorship and broadcasting.
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  • On this day in 2018: Scotland’s Katie Archibald wins Commonwealth Games gold On this day in 2018: Scotland’s Katie Archibald wins Commonwealth Games gold

    Scotland’s Katie Archibald added Commonwealth champion to her long list of accolades on this day in 2018.

    Archibald, an Olympic, world and European champion in various disciplines, took gold in the women’s individual pursuit in Brisbane, having broken the Games record in a blistering qualifying session.

    Her only previous Commonwealth medal was the bronze she won on home soil in the points race in Glasgow four years earlier.

    Archibald, then aged 24, said before racing began gold was the only colour she wanted and swiftly delivered, covering the 3,000m distance in three minutes 26.088 seconds to beat Australian Rebecca Wiasak.

    She had set the record at 3:24.119 in a qualifying session which saw three riders go under the previous record set by England’s Joanna Rowsell Shand in Glasgow.

    “It means a lot, especially in the individual pursuit because it’s not an Olympic event,” said Archibald. “2014 always stands out as a big year for Joanna Rowsell to kind of echo, because she had the title and the Games record.

    “You look at the success she carried from that point in her career. I’d be very proud.”

    Fired up by his sister’s performance, Archibald’s brother John then added another medal to Scotland’s tally with silver in the men’s 4,000m individual pursuit as England’s Charlie Tanfield clinched gold.

    “I watched her heat run and the pressure was on her,” said John Archibald.

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  • On this day in 2006: Kelly Sotherton wins heptathlon gold at Commonwealth Games On this day in 2006: Kelly Sotherton wins heptathlon gold at Commonwealth Games

    Kelly Sotherton celebrated heptathlon gold at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, on this day in 2006.

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    She finished with 6,396 points, 98 ahead of Australian silver-medallist Kylie Wheeler, while 20-year-old team-mate Jessica Ennis, who had been a point ahead of Wheeler heading into the 800m, took bronze with 6,269.

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    “I had a rubbish day today, my javelin is just getting worse. I have no words to describe how gutted I am at letting myself down.

    “But when I stand on the top step of the podium and listen to the national anthem for the first time ever I think I’ll realise I have achieved something quite good today.

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    Sotherton had claimed heptathlon bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and further bronzes were earned from the heptathlon at the Osaka 2007 World Championships and Beijing 2008 Olympics, as well as the 4x400m relay at the latter.

    Sotherton, who announced her retirement in 2012, did not receive the Beijing medals until 2018, having been upgraded following disqualifications.

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