MELBOURNE: Golf, coastal rowing and BMX racing will make their debut at the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Australia, officials said Wednesday, but wrestling and judo were dumped. The Australian state of Victoria will host the event, with all competition taking place outside the capital Melbourne and scattered across several towns. There will be 20 sports and 26 disciplines, including nine fully integrated Para sports, with coastal rowing, golf, and BMX among the newcomers while shooting makes a comeback. “We are thrilled to confirm the sport programme for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with the additional sports proposed by Victoria 2026 completing an exciting and diverse line-up,” said Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin. “The program is rooted in the CGF’s 2026-30 Strategic Roadmap, which provides hosts with greater flexibility to propose new sports, especially ones with specific local relevance that will enhance cultural showcasing and increase community engagement.” Golf made its reappearance at the 2016 Olympic Games after a gap of more than 100 years and was also part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But it has not been part of a Commonwealth Games before. “This is a great win for golf,” said Golf Australia chief James Sutherland. “This announcement validates golf’s increasing popularity and the enormous growth that the sport has enjoyed over the last three years.” The 2026 Games will be held in four regional hubs across Victoria in the towns of Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Gippsland, each with its own athletes’ village. The Games typically attract more than 4,000 athletes from the 54 nations of the Commonwealth, almost all of whom are former territories of the British Empire. The 2022 edition was hosted by Birmingham, England.