Women’s T20 cricket could make its Commonwealth Games debut if a proposal to add three sports to the Birmingham 2022 events programme is approved by Commonwealth Games Associations.
Birmingham 2022 organisers have proposed the inclusion of women’s T20 cricket, along with the return of beach volleyball and Para table tennis, after both sports made their debut at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games Federation Executive Board has accepted the proposal and will now ask all Commonwealth Games Associations to vote on the inclusions, with a 51% majority required.
Commonwealth Games Australia, following a scheduled board meeting today, confirmed it will support the proposed additions.
The inclusion of the three sports could see more medals for women and Para-sports than any previous edition of the Games, after the Gold Coast set new levels for inclusion of women and Para-sport events.
Australian pair Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann won the inaugural men’s beach volleyball gold medal whilst Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy won silver in the women’s event and Melissa Tapper created history winning Australia’s first table tennis gold medal in the Para-sport singles when both sports made their Commonwealth Games debut in 2018.
Cricket is an extremely popular sport across the Commonwealth with 90% of their global fan base residing in Commonwealth Countries. Men’s 50-over cricket was played in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 where Australian won the silver medal, however men’s T20 was not seeking inclusion in Birmingham, where all matches will be played at the famous Edgbaston ground.
CGA President Ben Houston said: “Commonwealth Games Australia will support the inclusion of the Women’s T20, beach volleyball and Para table tennis in Birmingham.”
“Commonwealth Games Australia is particularly excited about the inclusion of women’s T20 cricket. Australia is hosting the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup next year and the game continues to grow in popularity throughout Australia and the Commonwealth.”
“We are however disappointed for archery and shooting, who also proposed to be included on the Birmingham programme. Shooting in particular has a long history of participation, missing only the 1970 Games since its first appearance in 1966 and it has historically been a very strong contributor to the Australian teams overall result.”
CGF President, Dame Louise Martin DBE, said: “We welcome the proposal from Birmingham 2022 to include the three additional sports of women’s cricket, beach volleyball and Para table tennis at the Games. Following a careful review, the CGF Executive Board agreed to recommend to our Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) that they approve the proposed sports joining the programme. However, for the sports to be confirmed, we will need to receive a positive response from a minimum of 51% of the CGAs.”
Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022 said: “Ever since the sports programme for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was announced, there has been interest from all five optional sports that were not originally selected by Birmingham’s bid team and we are grateful to all of the sports for their participation and enthusiasm during this review process.”
“Our recommendation of adding women’s cricket, beach volleyball and Para table tennis is the result of a thorough review and we believe these sports would help us to enhance the existing programme and reach new audiences, while showcasing the sports to our local community, spectators and fans across the world watching on TV.”
“It’s also a selection that could help ensure that the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be the most inclusive in history, with a potential for the largest ever para-sports programme and more female medallists than ever before, representing a great story not just for Birmingham 2022, but for women’s sport in general.”
The plans will now be put to a final vote of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s 71-member Commonwealth Games Associations with an outcome expected in late July or early August following the conclusion of the vote.