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Coastal Rowing to overcome Commonwealth Games setback

Rowing Australia will continue to look for opportunities to showcase Coastal Rowing, beginning with this month’s Australian Coastal Rowing and Beach Sprint Championships, after news of the cancellation of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Coastal Rowing had been a welcome inclusion on the 2026 program, marking the first time rowing had been featured at the multi-sport event since traditional flat water racing in Edinburgh in 1986.

Rowing Australia (RA) is disappointed for all of the athletes who had started the planning process and were looking forward to competing in front of their home crowd.

It will be especially tough for our Coastal Rowers, who were also advised this month of the cancellation of the World Beach Games in Bali that were due to be held in August. RA had four rowers – Morgan Hodgson, Elizabeth Newell, Marcus Della Marta and Ellen Pozzi – selected as part of a 24-strong Australian team that also included 20 beach handballers.

The future of Coastal Rowing remains especially bright. The best athletes from Australian and wider Pacific will compete at Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast from July 27-30 in the second staging of the national titles. For the first time, the event will incorporate the Oceania Championships.

The regatta will also serve as the selection trials for the World Rowing Coastal Championships, to be held in Barletta, Italy, from October 6-8.

RA is awaiting a decision in September that could see Coastal Rowing included in the program for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which would expose the discipline to an extensive global audience.

“RA is disappointed at the cancellation of the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Rowing was set to make its return to the Commonwealth Games after a 40-year absence, through the discipline of Coastal Rowing,” Rowing Australia Chief Operating Officer Sarah Cook OLY said.

“Coastal Rowing is a discipline of the sport with a growing profile and we’re excited about the upcoming IOC decision on it’s inclusion at the LA28 and hopefully Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Next week we look forward to hosting the Australian Coastal Rowing and Beach Sprint Championships and the Oceania Beach Sprint Championships at Mooloolaba, where we can see our fantastic athletes in action.”

RA is in close contact with our Coastal Rowing athletes and coaches and is committed to ensuring they are given every chance to grow and improve in line with the rising profile of the sport.