Categories: Games News

Kardinia Park, ‘regional Australia’s best sporting venue’, to host 2026 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony

Kardinia Park in Geelong will host the closing ceremony of the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

The games are scheduled from 17 to 29 March 2026 and will take place in various regional Victorian centers in Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Geelong and Gippsland.

“This is the best sporting venue in regional Australia, so it makes perfect sense to hold the closing ceremony here,” Deputy Prime Minister Jacinta Allan said of the choice of venue.

The Geelong suburb of Waurn Ponds will host the Athlete’s Village, securing $292 million in infrastructure funding for the city.

Geelong will also host aquatic events including swimming, para-swimming and diving at a purpose-built facility in the suburb of Armstrong Creek.

The region will also host events such as coastal rowing, weightlifting, golf and women’s T20 cricket.

The opposition has called for the opening and closing ceremonies to be held in Geelong.(ABC News)

Games expenses to leave the last impression in Geelong

Allan said the benefits of the hundreds of millions in funding will continue for years to come.

The purpose-built venues will be converted into community facilities and affordable housing after the 2026 Games to alleviate shortages in the fast-growing suburb of Waurn Ponds.

“Given that housing is a pressure point in many parts of regional Victoria now, and will be in the future,” Allan said.

“This is a lasting legacy that will be left for many decades after the exciting competitive phase of the Commonwealth Games.”

The state government is expected to provide most of the funding for the event.

“”I think the state government will do the hard work to fund the games,” Commonwealth Games chief Craig Phillips said in February.

The recent Commonwealth Games have been mired in financial controversy.

The 2010 Delhi Games cost $15 billion and were marred by a corruption scandal, while the Commonwealth Games Federation withdrew the 2022 hosting rights from Durban, South Africa, in due to financial limitations.

The eventual 2022 games in Birmingham cost the UK government £778m [$1.409 billion] of public funding.

Australia dominated the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, claiming 67 gold medals and beating England to lead the medal total.(AP: Aijaz Rahi)

Premier Daniel Andrews called it a “fantastic” opportunity for regional Victoria, and dubbed the venue for the closing ceremony “Labour’s stadium”.

“When you think about Kardinia Park … Labor Stadium, we built every stage of that, it’s just an incredible facility. The best stadium in regional Australia,” Andrews said.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only re-run the 2006 games, but to do something very different.”

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the Coalition supported the event but called for more focus to be placed on regional Victoria.

“If it’s a Commonwealth Games for regional Victory, the biggest stadium outside of Melbourne, which is in Geelong, should be used for the opening and closing ceremonies,” he said. said Guy.

The opening ceremony is currently scheduled to be held on 17 March 2026 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.


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