Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) is today celebrating an exciting milestone for Victoria 2026, with 1000 days to go until the Commonwealth Games launch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
A gamechanger for the Commonwealth sport movement, Victoria 2026 boasts a vision to deliver a trailblazing multi-city model for competition that is unprecedented in the event’s history.
Australian swimming legend Petria Thomas OAM will lead the Australian Team as Chef de Mission, with her appointment marking a continued love affair with the Commonwealth Games and her ninth consecutive appearance in the green and gold.
In 2023, it is all about planning. CGA is establishing planning concepts for the Australian Team following a tour of Victoria earlier this year to meet with local councils and First Nations Australians to introduce how together we can deliver for the home nation.
“If the Games were a relay, we’d be at the first change with three legs to go,” Thomas said.
“The multi-city model presents us with a new challenge and we’re tackling it head on to ensure the best high-performance environment and overall experience for Australia’s Team members.”
Attention of course turns to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games next year, with Australia’s best athletes eyeing a berth in the teams that will head to the French capital in July and August.
Birmingham 2022 gold medallist and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic bronze medallist Col Pearse is one such athlete that has his sights on next year’s Games.
“The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games are my focus right now, but being a Victorian, the upcoming Games in 2026 are always on my mind,” Pearse said.
“The chance to compete in front a home crowd is something that I think every athlete looks forward to, and you can’t deny that it is certainly something special.”
It’s the third leg of the relay in 2025 that marks a turning point, with all eyes expected to be firmly on Victoria as preparations move to finalisation.
For Nina Kennedy, who won her first international medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, she too understands the significance that a home Games represents.
“Gold Coast 2018 was an incredible experience, and my memories of winning bronze – and my first international medal – are ones that I cherish,” Kennedy said.
“2025 will be a big year; post Olympics and Paralympics, there are World Championships and many domestic events that will help athletes prepare for Victoria 2026.”
“Then we have the Games back on home soil, and I know that Australia will well and truly get behind the green and gold again.”
The run home arrives in 2025, and the Games – alongside fans across Australia – will be ready and raring to go as the eyes of the Commonwealth fall on Victoria.
“We’re more enthusiastic than ever for Victoria 2026,” Thomas said.
“There are 1000 days to go, and the countdown to the Opening Ceremony has begun. Our Team will be ready, and we’re confident the host communities in Victoria and sports fans across Australia are looking forward to cheering us on.”
“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.”
The Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games will be held from 17 to 29 March 2026 across five regional hubs – Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, and Shepparton – and will feature 22 sports.
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 sport program after an absence in 2022.
Athletics, badminton, 3×3 basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, cricket T20, cycling (mountain bike, road, and track), diving, gymnastics (artistic), hockey, lawn bowls, netball, powerlifting, rugby 7s, squash, swimming, table tennis, triathlon, and weightlifting round out the competition.