Thursday, October 28, 2021

Hockey at Commonwealth Games decided by host city

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Rod Gilmour
The Hockey Paper's Editor. First covered international hockey at the 2010 Commonwealth Games - no better than a full house watching India play England - and has reported for the Daily Telegraph and other major newspapers ever since. Co-founded THP in 2016.

Hockey’s place on the Commonwealth Games programme could come under threat from successful hosting countries without a recognised chance of medals in the sport.

Commonwealth Games chiefs have said that only athletics and swimming will remain as compulsory sports in future Games as part of a ‘strategic roadmap’ to preserve the four-year event.

After Birmingham 2022, host countries will be able to choose around 15 sports – there are 19 on the programme next year – with hockey, a Commonwealth sport since 1998, listed as a ‘proposed core sport’. There could be as few as 10 sports in future Games.

This new pathway opens up the chance for shortened formats such as 3×3 basketball, and new Olympic additions such as surfing and skateboarding, with e-sports mooted as new Commonwealth contenders.

Currently, there is no host city for 2026, a decision which was meant to be realised in 2019.

“Our Games need to evolve and modernise to ensure we maintain our relevance and prestige,” Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Dame Louise Martin said.

She added to the BBC: “What we have to do is find the sports that the youth of today work with and nothing is off the table.”

Australia men have won every Commonwealth gold since 1998 while Australia women have glenaned four from six titles.

A CGF release stated: “Engagement will continue with Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) and International Federations over the coming months in line with the vision, intent and direction of the Roadmap.

“The CGF will continue to work with future hosts to agree the minimum and maximum cap on athlete numbers, helping ensure that the size, scale and cost of the multi-sport event is continually optimised and carefully managed.”

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