The 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria is 1000 days away. (Image: Commonwealth Games Australia)

Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) is gearing up for the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games, which promises to be a groundbreaking event in the history of the Commonwealth sport movement. 

With 1,000 days remaining until the grand opening at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Victoria 2026 is set to deliver a unique multi-city model for competition.

Victoria 2026 aims to redefine the Commonwealth Games experience by introducing a multi-city model that has never been attempted before.

Departing from the traditional single-city hosting approach, this trailblazing concept will see the Games spread across five regional hubs: Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, and Shepparton.

By decentralising the events, Victoria 2026 intends to maximise community involvement, showcase regional diversity, and create a truly inclusive memorable experience for athletes and spectators alike.

Australian swimming legend Petria Thomas OAM has been appointed as the Chef de Mission for the Australian Team, marking her ninth consecutive appearance in the Commonwealth Games.

Thomas’s enduring connection with the Commonwealth Games exemplifies the event’s lasting impact and her unwavering dedication to the green and gold.

“The multi-city model presents us with a new challenge and we’re tackling it head onto ensure the best high-performance environment and overall experience for Australia’s Team members,” Thomas said.

The multi-city model of Victoria 2026 goes beyond merely changing venues. It actively involves local councils, First Nations Australians, and community organisations in the planning and execution of the Games.

CGA representatives have embarked on a proactive approach, meeting with stakeholders across Victoria to ensure the Games leave a lasting positive impact.

By engaging with local communities, Victoria 2026 aims to foster a sense of ownership and pride, allowing the Games to become a shared experience for all Australians.

“The chance to compete in front of a home crowd is something that I think every athlete looks forward to, and you can’t deny that it is certainly something special,” Tokyo 2020 Paralympic bronze medallist Col Pearse said.

Victoria 2026 recognizes that creating an optimal high-performance environment for athletes is crucial to their success. 

With competitions spread across different regions, the Games offer a unique challenge that requires careful planning and coordination.

CGA is investing significant efforts into designing a seamless experience for the Australian Team.

By collaborating with local councils and leveraging the state’s resources, Victoria 2026 aims to provide top-notch facilities, training opportunities, and athlete support services at each regional hub.

This comprehensive approach ensures that athletes can perform at their best, setting the stage for sporting excellence.

The multi-city model of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games has captured the imagination of athletes, sports enthusiasts, and the broader Australian public.

The Games offer a unique opportunity for Australian athletes to compete in front of their families, friends, and passionate supporters on home soil.

“A home Games always presents a memorable opportunity for Australian athletes to compete in front of family and friends, but the enthusiasm we’ve encountered during our visits across the state highlights how much the locals are looking forward to getting behind the green and gold, too,” Thomas said.

This unparalleled level of support can uplift their performance and create lifelong memories.

By showcasing regional hubs, promoting tourism, and involving local communities, the Games will stimulate economic growth, infrastructure development, and community engagement. This legacy will endure long after the closing ceremony, benefitting both the participating regions and the overall Australian sports landscape.

Golf and coastal rowing will make their Commonwealth Games debut, while BMX will join the cycling program for the first time. Shooting returns to the Games sports program after an absence in 2022.

Athletics, badminton, 3×3basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, T20 cricket, cycling (mountain bike, road, and track), diving, gymnastics (artistic), hockey, lawn bowls, netball, powerlifting, rugby 7s, squash, swimming, table tennis, triathlon, and weightlifting will round out the competition.

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