Shepparton still fighting for events as Commonwealth Games dates locked in

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Race is on: The BMX Victorian Titles were held in Shepparton this year. At this stage, Shepparton will not be hosting any events in the 2026 Commonwealth Games, but the city will be pushing to gain hosting rights to some events. Photo by Bethanie Sessions

The Victorian Commonwealth Games dates are locked in, but City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Shane Sali has called on the state government to take the politics out of events’ locations and bring events to the Goulburn Valley.

On Wednesday, Deputy Premier and Commonwealth Games Delivery Minister Jacinta Allan announced the Games would run from March 1 to March 29, 2026, with four regional locations locked in.

Events will be held in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, with Shepparton left off the initial list of regional hubs.

Each of those hubs will have its own athletes’ village and host a range of sports that will create a legacy for Victoria that extends well beyond the competition period.

Cr Sali said he was grateful the games were going to take place in regional Victoria but said Shepparton had been left out in the cold.

“We are the number one city in the country, not just Victoria, for delivering events, we do events better than anyone else,” he said.

“The concept was developed and announced here, we had an expectation there should be some events here.”

While a process has started for additional sports to apply to be a part of the games, Shepparton was no closer to hosting any events.

Cr Sali said discussions would be ongoing with the Victorian Government to ensure some events were brought to the city.

The MCG will host the opening ceremony of the Games on March 17 before events are spread across regional Victoria.

Ms Allan said it was exciting to have a time set.

“We’ve locked in the dates for the Commonwealth’s finest athletes to compete for gold in regional Victoria at the 2026 Games,” she said.

“We’re getting on with delivering this global sporting event and including more sports will draw more of the Commonwealth’s finest athletes to our own backyard to inspire Victorians.’’

Commonwealth Games Federation president Dame Louise Martin said she was excited.

“We are delighted to see the dates confirmed for Victoria 2026 so that athletes, sports and fans start to prepare for a spectacular sporting competition.”