Plans to bring the Commonwealth Games to Wales are being drawn up, officials have confirmed.
It would not be until 2026 that the nation would be ready for the event, but officials from Cardiff council have been working on the possibility of staging the Games in the Welsh capital in 15 years. It would come 68 years after the Empire Games – the Commonwealth Games’ predecessor – was held in the city.
Steve Morris, sports development manager for Cardiff council, said: “Cardiff has always had an ambition to host the Commonwealth Games, since the late 1990s we’ve been talking about it. We originally talked about bidding for the 2014 Games, then 2022, but we wanted to bide our time and get it right.”
Mr Morris revealed that meetings have been held with Assembly Government Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones about bringing the Games to Cardiff.
Mr Morris outlined a range of ideas for the bid, including installing a raised running track in the Millennium Stadium and stripping out rows of seating to accommodate it.
An athletes’ village would need to be built in or around Cardiff to house the 5,000 competitors, with new transport links put in to support travel to and from venues.
A fact-finding mission to last year’s Games in Delhi helped Cardiff’s thinking about the event, according to Mr Morris.
He said: “Obviously Delhi had its problems, especially with the athletes’ village, and I learned a lot from my trip there. It gave us some ideas for how to do some things, and how not to do other things. One interesting idea was having dedicated Commonwealth lanes on major roads – like the M4. This would allow quick access for competitors to the venues.”
Chris Jenkins, executive director of the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales, said keeping the costs down is important. “We’ve got a lot of venues in Cardiff and around South Wales we can modify and use in any bid. It’s important to remember the bid process is very long and complicated. I think we’re well placed, though, and there’s been a lot of work done in the last six months to lay the groundwork for a strong bid. Whether it’s 2022 or 2026 doesn’t matter, I’d urge people not to get hung up on the date.
“The important thing is we don’t end up with a load of white elephants like Athens did after the Olympics with stadiums and venues they can’t use for any other purpose.”