A group of athletes in South Australia have continued to push for a chance to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games despite Hamilton in Canada having the first right of refusal to host the quadrennial event.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) made the offer to Hamilton earlier this year after Adelaide initially dropped its bid, but it comes with the conditions that the Canadian city pivot from a campaign to host the centennial Games in 2030 – and provide a government multi-party agreement by the end of September.
The 100th anniversary event is an important and sentimental milestone in Hamilton as the city served to play host to those first British Empire Games that were to evolve into the current Commonwealth Games. Earlier this week Hamilton city councillors debated whether 2026 was a better opportunity than 2030, with some questioning whether it’s an opportunity at all with no other cities apparently expressing interest.
But CGF Chief David Grevemberg played up the value of the offer telling councillors “Australia and India are two nations that have expressed interest in hosting the 2026 Games.”
“We have also been approached by a number of other potentially interested hosts for future Games as part of our bid development platform.”
Councillor Bard Clark called out Grevemberg on Twitter stating “Fascinating, given that the head of the Commonwealth Games made a point of correcting me in public when I said no other country was interested in CWG.”
“He cited Australia and India. Yet, Australia had already bailed in Sept 2019 and India is looking at an Olympic bid,” Clark wrote.
Fascinating, given that the head of the Commonwealth Games made a point of correcting me in public when I said no other country was interested in CWG. He cited Australia and India. Yet, Australia had already bailed in Sept 2019 and India is looking at an Olympic bid. https://t.co/P1YkYG9sDZ
— Brad Clark (Hamilton Councillor) (@BCouncillor) August 11, 2020
Adelaide dropped its 2026 bid last September after the state government denied support when it found that the Games would cost AUD $3.5 billion (USD $2.5 billion) with a potential economic benefit of only AUD $1.2 billion (USD $855 million).
But last month the bid group led by a high-profile former federal politician Christopher Pyne with popular local athletes including Olympic cyclist Anna Meares, marathon runner Jess Trengrove and swimmer Kyle Chalmers, reignited the bid and presented updated numbers to the state government.
Factoring in a reduced infrastructure demand and a new bidding framework developed by the CGF the group claimed the cost of the Games could be AUD $1.1 billion (USD $784 million) with a return of AUD $2.5 billion (USD $1.78 billion). A report by local television Nine News Adelaide said state officials rejected the new proposal but remained open to hosting the Commonwealth Games in the future.
A spokesperson for Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) told GamesBids.com this week that Australia remains interested in hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2026 and beyond.
CGA Chief Craig Phillips said “Commonwealth Games Australia wants to see the Games return to Australia, and as we witnessed most recently in both Melbourne and the Gold Coast, the Games provide a great legacy for communities that host the Games.”
He told GamesBids.com “Having a home Games is also important for our athletes and our member sports as it drives a significant increase in interest and awareness for our sports and athletes.
“We will continue working with the states and cities interested in hosting the Games in Australia.”
India also remains in discussions with the CGA to host in 2026 or 2030 after Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Rajeev Mehta told reporters in December that the House passed a resolution to bid for the Commonwealth Games. IOA officials are also engaged with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a dialogue to host the 2032 Olympics.
The CGF may, however, be reluctant to site the Games in India after Delhi hosted the event in 2010 – a Games remembered for delays, incomplete venues and local corruption.
Hamilton City Council seems split on whether to move forward with a proposal for the 2026 Games, but the CGF appear to be fostering backup options in case councillors vote against a bid when they meet next in September.