'Just makes sense’: Council makes pitch for Commonwealth Games rowing

On course: Strathbogie Shire Council wants Lake Nagambie added to the list of Commonwealth Games venues. Photo by Contributed

Lake Nagambie could be hosting Commonwealth Games rowing, if council gets its way.

In a push backed by Olympic rowing gold medallist Lucy Stephan, Strathbogie Shire Council has called on members of the community to voice their support for Nagambie to be placed on the 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games calendar.

Stephan, who used the Nagambie Lakes Regatta Centre as her training ground to prepare for her medal-winning 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said she “absolutely” supported the council’s proposal to host the rowing event.

“I have competed and trained at the Nagambie Lakes Regatta Centre throughout my rowing career,” Stephan said.

“Lake Nagambie is an inspiring 2km course and location which helped me to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and to reach my crew’s goal for gold.”

The regatta centre, which became a last-minute host of the Australian Rowing Championships in March, is ‘‘ready and willing’’ to host the event according to council, however, securing the rowing is not as easy as throwing one’s hat in the ring.

For Lake Nagambie to play host to the event the Victorian Government must first include rowing in the Games, with the sport last being ran at a Commonwealth Games in 1986.

Strathbogie Shire Mayor Laura Binks was not fazed by this, saying that despite rowing being an optional Commonwealth Games sport, it is one of Australia’s oldest and most successful.

“We believe the Nagambie Lakes Regatta Centre provides the perfect place to feature this event,” Binks said.

“The international popularity and interest in rowing and the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, provides an opportunity to bring rowing back to the international spotlight in the spectacular and inspiring setting of the Nagambie Lakes Regatta Centre.”

Binks called on local businesses and community groups to be vocal about their support for the bid, with social media resources available and a Victorian Government portal looking for Games suggestions.

“I encourage all interested people to share their views or send their support for rowing to be held at the Nagambie Lakes Regatta Centre,” she said.

“I encourage you to jump online and grab some of the social media collateral to share or a letter to send to the decision makers to let them know rowing and the Commonwealth Games must come to Lake Nagambie.”

Lake Nagambie will be competing against Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree for the hosting rights and, with the sport not officially included in the Games yet, there is sure to be plenty more to come in this story.