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The Australian state of Victoria has been confirmed as the host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

It will be the first-ever predominantly regional Commonwealth Games with events in several cities and regional hubs including Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland. Australia has hosted five other times.

In Tuesday’s announcement, Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin said Victoria and Commonwealth Games Australia “set out a bold and innovative vision for hosting our major multisport event. In Victoria, we believe we have found the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey.”

The opening ceremony will be at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The Commonwealth Games are held every four years involving 70-plus countries from the British Commonwealth of countries. It was scheduled for Durban this year, but Birmingham, England, stepped in when financial constraints forced the South African city to pull out.

The Gold Coast in Queensland hosted in 2018. Melbourne hosted the games in 2006 while other Australian editions included Sydney (1938), Perth (1962) and Brisbane (1982).

The Victoria proposal became the favourite in February when the state government entered into “exclusive negotiations” with the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Sixteen sports have been confirmed on the initial program and up to seven more could be added.

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