South East Wales

2026 Commonwealth Games: Cardiff council to pursue bid

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Media captionThe programme leading to a bid is being backed by the Welsh government

Cardiff council has confirmed it is pursuing its bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026.

The pledge comes in the latest draft plans for the Welsh capital.

The report promises to "develop a bid to host the Commonwealth Games that in itself delivers immediate and lasting benefits".

Last month, First Minister Carwyn Jones confirmed that consultants are working on detailed technical advice on potential venues in Cardiff.

A potential bid to host the games has been in discussion since as early as 2009, when the city was expected to target the 2022 event.

But the latest draft delivery and corporate plans for the county council confirm that proposals for a 2026 bid are well under way.

"Cardiff's track record of delivering major sporting and cultural events has brought the city a number of benefits," stated the draft plan.

"It is therefore appropriate that the administration has the aspiration for Cardiff to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

"The city's major event strategy for the next five years will provide a road map for realising this aspiration whilst delivering immediate and lasting benefits, whatever the outcome of our bid."

Image caption The Empire Pool was built for the 1958 games, and demolished to make way for the Millennium Stadium

The document sets out a four-point strategy for the bid planning process over the next four years.

Under the proposals, the city wants to host a series of high-profile events, and develop current sporting ventures.

The delivery plans say it will:

  • Host Extreme Sailing August 2013, and bid for the British Indoor Rowing Championships, and the 2013 World Cup Canoe Slalom
  • Bid for the 2014 World Cup Canoe Slalom championships
  • Develop and expand the Cardiff half-marathon, Cardiff 10K, and the Cardiff Cross Country Challenge.

A regional Commonwealth Games planning team will also be set up, and an inaugural Cardiff Games will be held this summer.

'High-profile sports'

The council said it also wanted to develop sporting action plans for sport across the city, focusing on young people, as well as promoting Olympic water sports in schools.

The programme leading up to a bid is also being supported by the Welsh government, which has appointed consultants Arup to review the technical details of potential venues.

In a written answer to the assembly in January, First Minister Carwyn Jones, said that study should be completed by April.

Image caption The Millennium Stadium already has a track record for sporting events, including Olympic football

"We will continue to work with partners on a potential bid and will take full account of the costs and benefits of the 2014 games in Glasgow ahead of any final decision regarding a bid."

The last time the city hosted the event was in 1958, when it was known as the Empire Games, when 35 nations descended on Cardiff Arms Park for the opening ceremony, with more than 1,000 athletes taking part.

The event was also where the Queen proclaimed that Prince Charles was to be the Prince of Wales.

However, the games have grown considerably since 1958. Seventy-two countries now participate, with more than 5,000 competitors.

It also comes at a price - the 2014 Glasgow games will cost in excess of £500m to host.

Image caption It is now 55 years since Cardiff hosted the Empire Games of 1958, which included a 120-mile road race won by British cyclist Ray Booty

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