Kenyan athletes face uncertainty as Gold Coast pulls out of 2026 Commonwealth Games bid


ATHLETICS Kenyan athletes face uncertainty as Gold Coast pulls out of 2026 Commonwealth Games bid

Festus Chuma 16:04 - 04.12.2023

Gold Coast's withdrawal from hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games leaves its future in doubt, impacting Kenyan athletes and international sports.

The future of the 2026 Commonwealth Games hangs in the balance as Gold Coast, the host of the 2018 edition, on Monday withdrew its bid to host the event.

This decision has sent shockwaves through the sporting world, leaving athletes and fans in suspense about the fate of this prestigious multi-sport competition.

The drama began when the state of Victoria in Australia, initially slated to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, backed out due to skyrocketing costs, which surged from £1.4 billion to an astounding £3.7 billion.

In a commendable move, Gold Coast stepped in, offering to host the Games once again. However, their generous offer came with a condition – financial support from the federal government.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate championed the cause, believing they could host a "streamlined" Games for a fraction of the original cost, around £367 million, and even suggested sharing the event with Perth, located a six-hour flight away.

Sadly, both the federal and state governments declined to support the proposal, dashing Gold Coast's hopes of hosting the event for a second time.

Mayor Tate expressed his disappointment, stating, "We did our best, and that's all people can expect. In simple terms, it seems our Games' vision doesn't align with the vision of the state or federal governments."

The dream of a collaborative effort between Gold Coast and Perth to save Australia's tarnished reputation, boost the national economy, and provide athletes with a pathway to future international competitions now lies in tatters.

This abrupt turn of events leaves the Commonwealth Games without a host for either the 2026 or 2030 editions.

Just a month after Victoria withdrew its bid for 2026, the Canadian province of Alberta followed suit, citing similar concerns over rising costs.

With no host in sight, organizers are considering the possibility of moving the next Games to 2027 as they scramble to find a solution to keep this historic event alive.

In the midst of this uncertainty, Kenyan athletes find themselves caught in the crossfire.

Kenya's performance at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, showcased their talent and determination, amassing a total of 21 medals, including six gold, five silver, and 10 bronze.

The highlight was Julius Yego's bronze in the javelin, securing the last medal for the nation.

Despite their impressive performance, the cloud of doubt hanging over the Commonwealth Games leaves Kenyan athletes in a state of limbo, unsure of their future in this prestigious competition.

In the final medal standings, Kenya finished 13th overall and third in Africa, with Australia dominating the table with a staggering 177 medals, including 66 gold, 57 silver, and 54 bronze.

Kenyan track stars have traditionally risen to prominence at the Commonwealth Games, using the event as a stepping stone to international success.

However, with the uncertainty surrounding the Games' future, Kenyan athletes may be left searching for alternative avenues to showcase their talents on the global stage.

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