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New Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive Katie Sadleir has claimed there is a “huge potential to make this special”, despite continuing doubts over the future of the event.

Preparations for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are on track but the CGF is still seeking a host city to follow it in 2026.

Sadleir, who officially started her new role earlier this month having joined from World Rugby to replace David Grevemberg, claimed that a new roadmap published last month has led to renewed interest from cities and countries wanting to explore the possibility of following Birmingham 2022.

Among the most eye-catching features of the roadmap is that athletics and swimming are now the only compulsory sports on the programme, which means that countries that host the Commonwealth Games in future can include events that are important to them.

An important change is that there is greater scope for co-hosting, not only between cities, but also countries and even regions.

read also:Ghana signs agreement with African Union to host 2023 African Games

“This roadmap which I have inherited talks about, looks at pivoting and putting far more of a focus on innovation and flexibility on the Games,” Sadleir said in her first media briefing here today.

“The Games has been around for nearly a 100 years and it has some great foundations in terms of some of the things that have been done.

“But the Commonwealth Movement is 2.5 billion people and 60 per cent of them are under 30.

“Making sure the Games of the future is relevant and fit for purpose and attracts the next generation is really important.”

Sadleir claimed she wanted to help build an event that was “unique, best in class and that lives the values of that you are trying to create”.

The New Zealander has a long connection with the Commonwealth Games.

She won a bronze medal in synchronised swimming at Edinburgh in 1986 and was her country’s assistant Chef de Mission at Victoria 1994.

“I believe there is a huge potential to make something special,” Sadleir said.

“It might be different from what you currently see, but I believe it will be special.

“The roadmap talks about doing things a bit different.

“It’s about being innovative and creative, but its also about driving efficiencies and also the legacy impact of the Games.

“We want more of the Commonwealth to benefit from hosting the Games to help drive the social change we want to see in some of those countries.”

My first visit from a CGA since starting in the new role. It was wonderful to discuss progress with @nocmaldives Secretary General Thamooh Ahmed Saeed.

Looking forward to meeting the other 71 members

“We are very positive about 2026,” she said.

“We are in discussions with potential bidders.

“There was a renewed excitement when the roadmap came out about the opportunity to be more flexible.

“It is absolutely our intention to be in a position before Birmingham to announce a host.

“I believe in the Movement.

“There are some radical changes there from what they would traditionally have done.

“It’s an organisation that knows it needs to reinvent itself rather than just repeat itself.”

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