News - Commonwealth Games

November 24 – The Gold Coast are set to stage their first major sporting competition since winning the right to stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games earlier this month with the HSBC Sevens World Series set to get underway in the city.

The Australian city saw off sole rivals Hambantota of Sri Lanka to stage the Commonwealth Games and it will get the chance to show the world exactly what is in store in 2018 with the inaugural Gold Coast Sevens which takes place tomorrow and Saturday (November 26).

The competition will take place at the 27,400 capacity Skilled Park, the home ground to the National Rugby League's Gold Coast Titans, and the world's top rugby sevens players have praised the both the stadium and the city as a world class sporting destination.

"To start the Series in the Gold Coast, it is a bit of a paradise here, so we are all really excited about it and playing in a great stadium, the home of the Gold Coast Titans," said New Zealand captain DJ Forbes.

"Pressure is always on New Zealand, and there might be more with being defending champions, but we never go into a Series defending a title, we just go out like all the others to win it."

England captain Greg Barden added: "Looking around, its 30 degrees already, beautiful sunshine and no better place to start the Series."

New Zealand and England will be two of the favourites for victory in the Gold Coast along with hosts Australia, who are one of a number of countries who have started investing far more in the sport since it became an Olympic sport, set to feature at Rio 2016.

"The home crowd will help us out a lot," said Australia captain Ed Jenkins.

"It is almost like playing with an extra man if the crowd can get up and make a lot of noise for us and I think it will be really beneficial."

A total of 16 teams will participate in the competition which could provide an indication of what the rugby sevens competition will look like at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Men's rugby sevens has featured at every Commonwealth Games since Kuala Lumpur 1998 and is now a compulsory sport at the competition while women's rugby sevens could make its debut on the Gold Coast after the sport was voted onto the sports programme as optional sports earlier this month.

By Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

altNovember 17 - Hambantota has blamed the chaos of last year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the intervention of Canada for its failure to win its bid to host the 2018 edition of the event, as the campaign's leaders Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Mahindananda Aluthgamage both complained that they suffered from a bias against smaller countries hosting the event.

The Sri Lankan city were beaten 43-27 by its only rival, the Gold Coast, at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis last Friday (November 11).

Upon his return to the capital Colombo, the co-chairman of Hambantoa 2018, Cabraal (pictured above right), claimed that their bid was scuppered by a late intervention from Commonwealth Games Canada.

"At the last minute Canada brought a proposal that India did not conduct the [2010] Games well and that some payments have not been made yet," said Cabraal.

"No doubt this was countered, but it created uncertainty among the members."

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been the most fierce critic of Sri Lankan's human rights record and at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth last month had threatened to oppose Hambantota's bid unless they addressed the issue seriously.

Canada's opposition both in Perth and St Kitts damaged Hambantota's chances, Cabraal claimed.

 "As a result I think that may have hurt our chances to a some extent, although we know that one of the most successful Games was conducted in India," said Cabraal, the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

"This lobby appeared to be designed to give some kind of a feeling that Asian countries are unable to have very good Games.

"That also may have gone against us to some extent."

Aluthgamage (pictured above left), the Sports Minister who was the other co-chairman of the bid, also criticised the bidding process.

"There is an injustice and we saw that small countries do not get a chance to hold these Games," he said.

But, despite Sri Lanka losing the bid, the process helped to improve Sri Lanka's image and boosted the tourism industry, Aluthgamage admitted.

It also provided an opportunity to draw attention to Hambantatoa, which is being developed as the country's second economic city, he said.

Cabraal insisted that they have not yet given any thought about whether to launch a bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games but they would push ahead with their ambitious plans to turn Hambantota into a major sporting hub.

"We have not thought of bidding for the 2022 Games but our plan on making Hambantota a sports city will go ahead as planned despite the loss," he said.

 

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

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