Sri Lanka paves way for 2026 Commonwealth Games bid
Sri Lanka is preparing to launch a bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with the Canadian city of Hamilton seemingly backing out of its favoured bid, according to reports.
The county's Ceylon Today newspaper has reported that the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) has started planning a bid.
A senior NOCSL official said: “We are keen and capable of handling the bid process and hosting if the government permits. We are seeking government guidance about expenditure, and if we receive the green light we will go ahead with the bid.
“Capital expenditure will be an investment for the country’s sports, especially when we look at the Birmingham 2022 plans of building a fully-fledged international sports university… which will help in hosting events as well as accommodation of athletes and officials.”
The city of Hambantota bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but lost, by 43 votes to 27, to Australia’s Gold Coast, and it is as yet unclear where specifically a 2026 event would be focused on the island.
The last major world event which took place in the country was cricket's T20 World Cup, both the men’s and women’s editions, in 2012.
The Commonwealth Games Federation is in a tricky spot with regards to the 2026 games, and Sri Lanka’s candidacy would therefore be a welcome boost.
Hamilton is currently the only candidate to have bid, and was primed to be awarded the event unopposed, but that campaign last month was informed by the Ontario government that it would not support a bid, due to a clash with soccer’s Fifa World Cup, which Canada will co-host with the US and Mexico.
The CGF had spent a considerable amount of time and resources working with Hamilton as a preferred bidder for 2026, only for that city to then miss a funding deadline of late September which had been set by the CGF to secure financial support from city and federal authorities.
Hopes that Adelaide, South Australia’s capital, would step in as host for the 2026 games ended earlier this month, after state premier Steven Marshall said he would not be interested in staging the event.
The CGF is still hopeful of selecting a host city for the 2026 games by the end of this year.
Birmingham, England, will play host in 2022.