Commonwealth Games: Former Kiwi Olympian Sarah Cowley-Ross backs potential New Zealand bid

Former Kiwi heptathlete Sarah Cowley-Ross has thrown her support behind the NZ Olympic Committee's interest in hosting the 2034 Commonwealth Games.

Changes to the existing hosting protocols now allow the multi-sport competition to be spread across the country, not just one host city, but there are concerns about the financial burden of staging such an enormous event amid a cost-of-living crisis in New Zealand.

Cowley-Ross acknowledges the trepidations, but believes the Commonwealth Games would boost the economy, particularly in the country's smaller cities.

"It's a massive competition and it's a platform for New Zealand athletes," she told AM. "The exciting thing about it is it's a pinnacle event for a lot of sports.

"We are in a cost-of-living crisis and we've had significant events in New Zealand, which will take a long time to recover, but I think the positive of taking it around the country is it's an opportunity for cities and this road map allows that.

"I think that's exciting, to take it to towns around New Zealand, which have not hosted games before, and it could provide economic benefits to the smaller cities, which have traditionally not been involved in hosting the likes of the Rugby World Cup last year or the Cricket World Cup.

"This is a massive opportunity, but we need to figure out if we can afford it as a country and we've got time to be able to do that."

NZ team at Birmingham 2022 opening ceremony.
NZ team at Birmingham 2022 opening ceremony. Photo credit: Photosport

Cowley-Ross remembers competing at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games fondly and likened it to being back home. Her participation there was a stepping stone towards selection for the 2012 London Olympics.

New Zealand hasn't hosted the Commonwealth Games since 1990, but she recalls watching it as a child and hopes it can make a timely return.

"I absolutely do remember," Cowley-Ross said. "I remember thinking I would really love to go and watch, and some really good family friends did.

"I remember the hype around it. I was a six-year-old in Rotorua, but it was a great time for New Zealand and I just hope that we can do it again, if the work that says we can do it again is agreeable to that."