Swimming And Athletics To Be Sole Compulsory Sports At 2026 and 2030 Commonwealth Games

David Cumberlidge in action at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games - Photo Courtesy: Team England
David Cumberlidge of England at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games - Photo Courtesy: Team England

Swimming and athletics will be the only compulsory sports at the 2026 and 2030 Commonwealth Games with hosts given greater flexibility to determine the programme.

According to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), this will “allow hosts the ability to propose entirely new sports, relevant to their nation or culture, to enhance cultural showcasing and community engagement.”

Swimming and athletics will remain because of their place on the programme since 1930 “and based on universality, participation, broadcasting, spectator interest, Para inclusion and gender balance.”

At present there are 16 core sports but at its General Assembly on Monday the CGF announced there will be a maximum of 15 and a minimum of 10 as part of its new Strategic Roadmap.

At the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham a total of 24 able-bodied and para-sports will be contested.

Hosts will be able to choose from a wider list of core sports including disciplines that have previously been listed as optional such as T20 cricket, beach volleyball and 3×3 basketball.

Co-hosting within regions or across cities, along with mass participation events making use of facilities or linked to the Games, will also be among the “innovative concepts” encouraged among bidders.

The objective is for the host to “generate maximum value, impact and legacy from staging the event” and allow a more sustainable long-term agenda, with increased awareness of how sport and culture can positively impact communities.

Amongst other approved recommendations, the Strategic Roadmap has outlined that:

  • An integrated Para sport programme must remain a key, focal part of the Games
  • Future potential hosts would 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 would be encouraged to propose new innovations and sports/disciplines to drive growth and youth engagement
  • The Federation will continue to prioritise sustainability, social purpose and legacy planning as part of discussions with potential hosts
  • Hosts would be encouraged to consider mass participation events as part of their health and well-being programmes

CGF President Dame Louise Martin said:

“We are delighted to unveil our direction of travel with this new Strategic Roadmap, which I believe 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.

“After a long period of hard work and consultation, incorporating the views and opinions of our membership and experts across the world, we are excited to move forwards with this Roadmap. I would like to thank all our 72 Commonwealth Games Associations for their support.

“Our next step is to work closely with our International Federation partners to ensure they can contribute to the vision and direction of the Roadmap in order to underpin the future of the Games.”