Esports has faced a major setback as the upcoming 2026 Commonwealth Games — set to be held in Victoria, Australia — will not consider it a medal event. This comes as a shock as the 2022 Commonwealth Games showcased esports as a pilot event, where India managed to clinch Bronze after defeating New Zealand in DOTA 2. 

As reported by the BBC, organisers of the 2026 Commonwealth Games have said that esports will not be featured. However, no official reason was cited by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Global Esports Federation (GEF). 

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The report quoted a source who claimed that doping could be an issue, as making arrangements for year-round testing of drugs across various gaming titles to be featured in the 2026 Games could prove problematic. 

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BBC cited another insider who said that another reason for dropping esports from CWG 2026 could be that traditional and older members of the Commonwealth nations are averse to esports and there was “a lot of general resistance”. 

However, another reason could be that the live-streamed matches at the 2022 showcase event didn’t grab too many eyeballs, pulling in viewers in the low hundreds, as per the report. A CWG 2026 organising committee member reportedly said, “While they weren’t successful this time, the Commonwealth Games Federation and Global Esports Federation will keep working on an inclusion pathway for this growing sport.”

How the Indian esports industry reacted

“It’s disheartening to see that esports inclusion in CWG as a proper medal event is not happening soon. With this news, we have to understand that our new-age sports need proper infrastructure, training facilities, coaches and most importantly health experts who will take care of athletes’ mental and physical well-being,” Revenant Esports Founder and CEO Rohit Jagasia told ABP Live.

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Jagasia went on to suggest that doping might not be the primary reason. “I am still not convinced that doping alone will be the reason, there is a lot more to it which we hope to know in the coming future. We have to take this decision as a major setback and take the learning out of it that we have to build a proper programme for our esports athletes so that they can represent the country at these prestigious events and bring laurels for the country.”

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“In the past, there have been doping cases across various sports in international events. We have always witnessed strict action being taken again the concerned player/team,” said Alpha Zegus Founder and Director Rohit Agarwal. “However, this is the first time that a sport is being bared due to a few bad apples. Esports still has a long way to go in terms of growth and infrastructure, but it’s a little difficult to believe that doping could be the primary reason.”

Esports will still be a medal event at the upcoming Asian Games set to be held in Hangzhou, China, in 2023. 

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By Dipak

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