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Explained: Why Did Wrestling and Archery Get Excluded From 2026 CWG?

The CWG 2026 will witness shooting making a return at the event while wrestling and archery failed to grab a spot.

Updated
Olympic Sports
3 min read
Explained: Why Did Wrestling and Archery Get Excluded From 2026 CWG?
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The Commonwealth Games Federation (CWF) on Wednesday, 5 October, announced the final list of disciplines for the 2026 Commonwealth Games (CWG) to be held in Victoria, Australia.  

The event will feature 20 sports, including nine fully integrated para sports, with shooting being the most notable of inclusions from an Indian perspective. Shooting has been India’s strongest event at the Commonwealth Games with the country bagging a total of 135 medals (63 gold, 44 silver and 28 bronze) from the event so far. However, another big Indian medal event, wrestling, has been excluded from Victoria's roster, along with archery.

So, what is the rationale behind a host nation's decision to exclude certain sporting events from the CWG. What are the rules that allow such decisions? Here's a look:  

Explained: Why Did Wrestling and Archery Get Excluded From 2026 CWG?

  1. 1. Host Nations Pick Sports in Which Their Athletes Excel

    The CGF-approved 2026-30 Strategic Roadmap in October 2021 had proposed that the host nation would be offered greater flexibility to propose new sports, especially ones with specific local relevance.

    This was suggested in a bid to enhance cultural showcasing and increase community engagement. In fact, the Strategic Roadmap had recommended only athletics and aquatics as the only compulsory sports at the CWG.

    With the CWG 2026 scheduled to be held in the Australian state of Victoria, including cities such as Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, the ouster of a sport such as wrestling does not come as a surprise. 

    Wrestling has never been Australia’s strength at the Games. Australia who emerged as champions in Birmingham with a total of 178 medals, won just two bronze medals in the wrestling event.  

    Given their poor record in the sport, it is comprehensible why a sport such as wrestling failed to secure a spot at the CWG 2026 final list, especially if observed from an Australian perspective.

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  2. 2. Popularity and Spectator’s Interest

    A dominant nation in almost every other sport, Australia’s inability to excel at wrestling suggests a lack of popularity and interest in the sport Down Under. However, that is not the case with shooting.  

    It is a popular sport in Australia. They lead the overall CWG medal charts ahead of India in all but one event between 2002 and 2018. Australia had finished second behind India at the 2018 CWG in Gold Coast with nine medals (3 gold, 5 silver, and 1 bronze).  

    The return of shooting at the CWG 2026 following its omission from the previous edition will certainly gather crowds and garner attention given its popularity with the Australian public.  

    Hence, wrestling losing out and shooting making a comeback has a lot to do with the interest of the local public and its popularity over the course of history.   

    Expand
  3. 3. Logistical Issues  

    Birmingham Games' officials had cited logistical issues as the main reason for the exclusion of shooting and archery from CWG 2022.  

    The unavailability of a decent shooting range in the British West Midlands region, and the organiser’s unwillingness to invest in a new facility had led to shooting being dropped from the roster.  

    However, since its omission, and given Australia’s rich medal haul in shooting, Shooting Australia along with International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) – the world shooting body, made conscious efforts to reinstate the sport into CWG by launching various campaigns.  

    All the efforts from the respective shooting bodies eventually bore fruit as the CGF agreed to include the sport for the upcoming Games in Victoria.  

    Unlike Birmingham, the State of Victoria has facilities such as the Bendigo Showgrounds (air rifle, air pistol events), Wellsford Rifle Range (rifle competitions) among others that enable a smooth conduct of the shooting when the event unfolds in 2026.  

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

Host Nations Pick Sports in Which Their Athletes Excel

The CGF-approved 2026-30 Strategic Roadmap in October 2021 had proposed that the host nation would be offered greater flexibility to propose new sports, especially ones with specific local relevance.

This was suggested in a bid to enhance cultural showcasing and increase community engagement. In fact, the Strategic Roadmap had recommended only athletics and aquatics as the only compulsory sports at the CWG.

With the CWG 2026 scheduled to be held in the Australian state of Victoria, including cities such as Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, the ouster of a sport such as wrestling does not come as a surprise. 

Wrestling has never been Australia’s strength at the Games. Australia who emerged as champions in Birmingham with a total of 178 medals, won just two bronze medals in the wrestling event.  

Given their poor record in the sport, it is comprehensible why a sport such as wrestling failed to secure a spot at the CWG 2026 final list, especially if observed from an Australian perspective.

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Popularity and Spectator’s Interest

A dominant nation in almost every other sport, Australia’s inability to excel at wrestling suggests a lack of popularity and interest in the sport Down Under. However, that is not the case with shooting.  

It is a popular sport in Australia. They lead the overall CWG medal charts ahead of India in all but one event between 2002 and 2018. Australia had finished second behind India at the 2018 CWG in Gold Coast with nine medals (3 gold, 5 silver, and 1 bronze).  

The return of shooting at the CWG 2026 following its omission from the previous edition will certainly gather crowds and garner attention given its popularity with the Australian public.  

Hence, wrestling losing out and shooting making a comeback has a lot to do with the interest of the local public and its popularity over the course of history.   

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Logistical Issues  

Birmingham Games' officials had cited logistical issues as the main reason for the exclusion of shooting and archery from CWG 2022.  

The unavailability of a decent shooting range in the British West Midlands region, and the organiser’s unwillingness to invest in a new facility had led to shooting being dropped from the roster.  

However, since its omission, and given Australia’s rich medal haul in shooting, Shooting Australia along with International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) – the world shooting body, made conscious efforts to reinstate the sport into CWG by launching various campaigns.  

All the efforts from the respective shooting bodies eventually bore fruit as the CGF agreed to include the sport for the upcoming Games in Victoria.  

Unlike Birmingham, the State of Victoria has facilities such as the Bendigo Showgrounds (air rifle, air pistol events), Wellsford Rifle Range (rifle competitions) among others that enable a smooth conduct of the shooting when the event unfolds in 2026.  

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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