A new study from the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) shows that 9.37 million Australians aged 15 and over participate in at least one of the 22 sports that will be on show in Birmingham.
Athletics (including running and jogging) ranks first among Australians aged 15 and over with 3.48 million participants, followed by swimming with 3.23 million participants and cycling with 2.56 million attendees. These top three are consistent across gender, age, location, and those who speak a language other than English at home (LOTE).
The findings are revealed in the CSA’s national AusPlay report “Community Participation in Commonwealth Games Sports“, which also examines how participation has changed since the last Games in 2018.
Basketball, cricket, mountain biking and pétanque are also popular among men. Among women, netball is ranked fourth, followed by basketball, boxing and volleyball.
CSA CEO Kieren Perkins OAM said Australians were also inspired to try new sports after the 2018 Gold Coast Games.
“Mountain biking has grown in popularity since the 2018 Games, with the number of participants more than doubling across all age groups. We’ve also seen more people in the 15-34 age bracket riding the mountain. badminton and table tennis, while weightlifting is more popular among 15-34 year olds and 35-54 year olds.
The number of participants in basketball, mountain biking and weightlifting has more than doubled within the LOTE community (those who speak a language other than English at home).
Since 2018, the number of cyclists, swimmers and weightlifters living with a disability has also increased significantly.
When it comes to children (aged 0-14), 1.34 million girls participate in a Commonwealth Games sport, while the figure is slightly lower for boys at 1.26 million.
Swimming is the most popular sport among children of all age groups, followed by basketball, cricket and athletics for men, and gymnastics, netball and basketball for men. women.
“It’s clear that Australians love their sport and the upcoming Games provide another great opportunity to be inspired by our athletes competing on the world stage and to get involved in sport,” said Mr Perkins.
Sports like boxing, netball and table tennis have also become more popular in the capitals, while bowling has more players from the regions.
With the 2026 Commonwealth Games being staged in four regional cities in Victoria, Mr Perkins hopes this will inspire more Australians to try a new sport or get involved in the Games by volunteering.
AusPlay provides the sports industry with vital information about adult and child sport and physical behaviors and critical evidence to inform strategies to increase participation.