Source: www.ap.org

Suresh Camaldi. Photo courtesy: www.indianexpress.com.NEW DELHI -- Indian officials arrested the chief organizer of last year's Commonwealth Games and two other officials on Monday as part of a corruption investigation into the scandal-plagued competition in New Delhi.

India had hoped that the Games would help it herald its rise as a superpower, but instead it was deeply embarrassed by corruption allegations, construction delays and cost overruns as the budget ballooned to billions of dollars.

Organizing Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, the highest-ranking official arrested in the probe, has been charged with conspiracy for allegedly favoring a Swiss company in the purchase of equipment for timing and scoring events, Central Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Dharini Mishra said.

The bureau - the Indian equivalent of the FBI - claims the government was bilked out of 1.41 billion rupees ($31 million), paid to Swiss Timings Ltd. for equipment available from another company for much less.

The bureau said competition for the contract had been wrongfully restricted "in a premeditated and planned manner," with no clear criteria for selecting the winning bids and alleged coercion and threats against those making the final decision.

Two of Kalmadi's aides on the committee - Lalit Bhanot and V.K. Verma - were arrested last month in the same case.

Kalmadi is due to appear in court Tuesday for a custody hearing.

He was detained at the bureau's headquarters after answering investigators' questions Monday morning. Investigators then arrested two more officials - Surjit Lal and A.S.V. ( ASVI - news - people ) Prasad - and said more suspects would be taken into custody in coming days.

The staging of the Games - which cost India about 700 billion rupees ($15 billion) despite an initial estimate of 18.9 billion rupees ($412 million) - has unleashed months of bitter allegations and cries of corruption in the handling of the event.

Australian and British companies have accused the organizing committee of delaying payments for services rendered during the Oct. 3-14 Games.

An Indian government report last month said delays, administrative inefficiency and wasteful spending had cost the country $355 million.

The report has been criticized, however, by the London-based Commonwealth Games Federation as inaccurate and unfair. Switzerland-based Event Knowledge Services, which had been hired to work on the Games, also said the report was off base in making "unsubstantiated" accusations of wrongdoing.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: www.hambantota2018.com

The Co-Chair of Sri Lanka’s bid to host its first Commonwealth Games has arrived in London to showcase Hambantota 2018 at the SportAccord International Convention.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, also Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, is leading a delegation to the key fixture in the global sporting calendar.  More than 1,500 influential figures from international sport are gathered in the English capital until 8 April under the theme ‘Why Sport Matters’. Governor Cabraal himself sees sport as a catalyst for sustainable social and economic development and hopes to secure such benefits for the tear drop shaped nation.

He said: “Sport can be life-changing and transformational.  Its benefits reach beyond the track and field into the home, classroom and boardroom.   Education, health, infrastructure, tourism, culture, the economy and environment are all pillars of a legacy underpinning our bid.  It’s a legacy that will reach throughout our unified nation and across South Asia.  And it will be an inspiration to other emerging and developing nations and their people.”

Sri Lanka is continuing its rapid development following the end of internal conflict and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami; Hambantota is the fast-developing coastal city in the South coast region worst hit.  Major infrastructure upgrades are already taking place in the ‘new City’ including a sea port and second international airport; a high capacity public transport system and new road network are in the pipeline.  Work has also begun on the state-of-the-art Hambantota 2018 ‘Sports City’ which will feature 90 percent of the venues and facilities for the 2018 Games.  And a new seven-year National Sports Plan sets out to create a pyramid of sporting opportunity.

Governor Cabraal’s visit follows Sri Lanka’s key role in the success of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.  The co-hosts staged nine matches – including two in Hambantota itself – and reached a thrilling final on Saturday, losing to India.  The tournament showcased the nation’s passion for sport with its organisation, infrastructure, venues and fans receiving plaudits throughout.

The CGF is due to choose the host city at its meeting in St Kitts and Nevis on 11 November 2011.  For more information on Hambantota 2018 visit: www.hambantota2018.com

-ENDS-

Notes:

About the Hambantota 2018 emblem and strapline
The Hambantota 2018 emblem features eight pairs of hands in the colours of the CGF.  Each pair of hands is pressed together, palms together and fingers pointed outwards.  This symbolises Añjali Mudrā, the hand gesture practiced throughout Asia and the continent’s eight Commonwealth members; it has the same meaning as the customary spoken Sanskrit greeting Namaste.  The design also depicts the similar Ayubowan gesture, a cultural symbol of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan hospitality.  The bid strap line is ‘Together.  From the heart.’

Source: Hambantota, Sri Lanka

A high profile delegation from Sri Lanka’s bid to host its first Commonwealth Games has arrived in Marrakech, Morocco, to present the case for Hambantota 2018 to the fifth African International Sports Convention (CISA).

The summit, which runs to 19 March, is a major feature in the African sporting calendar.  More than 300 sports professionals from across the globe are convened under the theme ‘Sport for Education & Development.’  Among them are representatives of all 19 African Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) who will be interested in synergies with Hambantota 2018’s own agenda, according to Nalin Attygalle, Chief Executive of the bid and who leads the delegation.

Mr Attygalle said: “Just as CISA aims to promote the development of African sport at school level, our bid recognises the intrinsic link between sports and education.  Sport can be life-changing and transformational.  A Hambantota Games will be a catalyst to work with schools and engage young people throughout our unified nation; we will create a pyramid of sporting opportunity in line with our new seven-year National Sports Plan.”

Education through sport is not the only goal shared by CISA and Hambantota 2018.  The conference also asks what it takes to run a bid; how major events can affect emerging cities’ development plans; and what benefits await a nation and its communities.  Sri Lanka itself wants a 2018 Games to secure long term and sustainable social and economic benefits as it continues its rapid development following the end of internal conflict and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami; Hambantota is the fast-developing coastal city in the South coast region worst hit.  And the tear drop shaped nation also hopes to break the mould of event bidding to be an inspiration for others. 

Mr Attygalle added: “As a developing nation, a key ambition of our bid campaign is to inspire other developing and emerging nations – and their people – throughout the Commonwealth.  It is not only large and advanced economies that should be considered as host cities of major events.  We will demonstrate that we have what it takes to host a truly unique and successful 2018 Games.  By doing so, we hope to open up the opportunity for other developing countries within the Commonwealth to bid for and stage the Games in the future.”

In demonstrating to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and all CGAs that it has the ability to host an exemplary event in 2018, the Hambantota bid commits to completing all of the venues and the entire infrastructure for the Games by December 2016.  The ‘new’ city will host the South Asian Games the same year which, together with further test events throughout 2017, will act as a dress rehearsal to ensure everything is ready well in advance of 2018.

Further synergies can be drawn between Hambantota and Marrakech itself.  Like many North African cities, the latter comprises both an old fortified city (the médina) and an adjacent modern city or ville nouvelle (Gueliz).  Hambantota too promises to offer visitors in 2018 the very best of both worlds: ‘old’ world charm, natural beauty, cultural splendours and heritage coupled with the vibrancy, diversity and excitement of a new city.  The populations are both also known for a tradition of hospitality, as depicted in the Hambantota 2018 emblem1 unveiled in January by His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The trip is part of the Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee’s plans to visit Commonwealth countries in all six regions – Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, America and the Caribbean – before submitting its Candidature File or ‘Bid Book’ in Kuala Lumpur on 11 May.  Accompanying Mr Attygalle are Hon. Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Media and Mr Hemasiri Fernando, President NOC/CGA Sri Lanka.  A delegation last month met CGAs from the Caribbean and Americas at the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CACSO) in Veracruz, Mexico.

The CGF is due to choose the host city at its meeting in St Kitts and Nevis on 11 November 2011.  For more information on Hambantota 2018 visit: www.hambantota2018.com

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

The Hambantota 2018 emblem features eight pairs of hands in the colours of the CGF.  Each pair of hands is pressed together, palms together and fingers pointed outwards.  This symbolises Añjali Mudrā, the hand gesture practiced throughout Asia and the continent’s eight Commonwealth members; it has the same meaning as the customary spoken Sanskrit greeting Namaste.  The design also depicts the similar Ayubowan gesture, a cultural symbol of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan hospitality.  The bid strap line is ‘Together.  From the heart.’

The Hambantota 2018 logo and strapline are available on request as jpeg and/or eps files.

For further information on Hambantota 2018 visit www.hambantota2018.com
The 19 CGAs attending CISA are:
Botswana
Cameroon
Ghana
Kenya
Lesotho
Malawi
Mauritius
Mozambique
Namibia
Nigeria
Rwanda
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
South Africa
Swaziland
Tanzania
The Gambia
Uganda
Zambia

 

Source: www.insidethegames.com

By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of the Delhi 2010 Organizing CommitteeSuresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, is set to be arrested for his involvement in the corruption linked to the event, it has been claimed by the media in India.

The claims were made as his two closest aides, Lalit Bhanot and V K Verma, the secretary general and the director general respectively of the Organising Committee, were appearing in a court in Delhi charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption in in connection with a $24 million (£15 million) contract awarded to Swiss Timing.

They were remanded for five days but Kalmadi hit back claiming that Government officials were just as involved in the preparations for the Games as the Organising Committee.

"Only officials of the Organising Committee are being called for questioning by the investigative agencies," said Kalmadi.

"The entire process seems to be against the officials who have worked with the Organising Committee for many years.

"No decision related to the Games was taken alone by anyone.

"So I am shocked that investigative agencies are only calling the officers of the organising committee and that no Government officers have so far been called by them.

"I don't understand that when all the details are with the investigating agencies, all documents are with them, then whyare they only calling the Organising Comiittee officials.

"Organising Committee members are only being targeted, why not others involved in the decision making.

"We want this thing to become clear when all the papers are with the agencies."

Kalmadi, who is President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), claimed that all the decisions to do with the Games had been approved by the Executive Board, consisting of senior Central and Delhi Government officers.

"I would like to state that all the decisions had been made by the members of the Executive Board and not alone by the Organising Committee members," he said.

"It's not the decision made by any individual.

"Nowhere decisions were made by the members of the Organising Committee.

"There was the finance sub-committee, finance committee and the Executive Board.

"They all have senior Government officers.

"They all were participatory in the decision-making process.

"The executive board [of the Organising Committee] comprisedtwo officers from Government of India, two from Delhi Government, three officials from Commonwealth federations and then IOA people, including myself and Randhir [Singh, the secretary general].

"So it was a very balanced team, and all decisions have been taken unanimously.

"Everybody was part of it and the Union Sports Ministry has been also part of the decision-making process at every step.

"There was no case where we people differed. So again I ask why only the Organising Committee is being singled out."

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised that anyone convicted of being involved in corruption would be punished.

"There were complaints of wrong-doings even before the Games and from the ramparts of the Red Fort, I had promised that if a wrong thing has been done, we will investigate the matter," he said.

"If found guilty, no one will be spared."

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

President Mahinda Rajapaksa unveiled the logo for Sri Lanka’s bid for ‘Commonwealth Games 2018 Hambantota’ at Temple TreesHambantota are reportedly paying British firm pmplegacy, part of the London-based Chime Communications, at least Rs. 336 million (£1.9 million) to help its the 2018 Commonwealth Games, according to Sri Lankan Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage (pictured left).

"In order to prepare the bid documents for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and for promotional campaigns we have offered the contract to a British PR Firm pmplegacy," Aluthgamage is reported saying the Sunday Leader.

"The exact amount is known to Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal as he is the chairman of the organising committee that handles the finances."

The Sunday Leader claimed that the money will come out of the Rs. 500 million (£2.8 million) Sri Lanka is paying public relations firm Bell Pottinger, another firm who are part of Chime, to boost its post-war image.

Its stablemate, pmplegacy, has a long and distinguished 25-year track record of working with leading cities around the world on the evaluation, bidding, planning and delivery of major sporting events.

The company has worked on a wide range of major events while some of its high-profile clients include the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing, the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Fifteen representatives from this pmplegacy are now said to be in Sri Lanka working on full time basis as they prepare the 2018 Commonwealth Games bid document from their Rajagiriya office.

Hambantota are up against Australia's Gold Coast in their bid to secure the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a decision set to be made on where the event will be held at a meeting in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11.

According to Aluthgamage, the deal with pmplegacy covers the cost for bid documentation, promotional campaigns, canvassing and entertainment costs.

"We will be holding the Asian Beach Games at Hambantota in August," he said.

"This would certainly help to boost the country's image.

"In addition the Cricket Board, the Foreign Ministry, Football Federation and National Olympic Committee are working closely to get support from the Commonwealth countries

The Sports Minister claimed that it is essential to raise awareness that Sri Lanka is no longer a war ravaged country.

"People in some countries fear to visit Sri Lanka," he said.

"We have to change this attitude.

"This can only be done through promotional campaigns."

If Sri Lanka wins the bid, the cost of hosting the games is expected to be a mammoth Rs. 500 billion (£3.12 million) which will mainly go towards building new stadia and constructing the Athletes' Village.

Peter Mann, the founder and chair of pmplegacy, told insidethegames: "Any figure agreed between the Hambantota 2018 bid team and pmplegacy is completely confidential."


 

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

Cardiff City StadiumCardiff has begun the process to decide whether it should bid to bring the Commonwealth Games back to the Welsh capital, 68 years after it last staged them.

The city has opened discussions with the Welsh Government about launching a campaign to bid for the 2026 Games with the Millennium Stadium as the centrepiece.

Meetings have been held with Wales' Government Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones and is hoping to get the backing of the Welsh Assembly to stage the event for the first time since 1958.

"Cardiff has always had an ambition to host the Commonwealth Games, since the late 1990s we've been talking about it,"Steve Morris, the sports development manager for Cardiff Council, told the Western Mail.

"We originally talked about bidding for the 2014 Games, then 2022, but we wanted to bide our time and get it right."

The plans include installing an athletics track in the Millennium Stadium, the home of the Welsh rugby team.

The idea of a bid from Cardiff has become a more realistic prospect following a fact-finding trip to last year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"Obviously Delhi had its problems, especially with the Athletes' Village, and I learned a lot from my trip there," said Morris.

"It gave us some ideas for how to do some things, and how not to do other things.

"One interesting idea was having dedicated Commonwealth lanes on major roads - like the M4.

"This would allow quick access for competitors to the venues."

Cardiff_programme_from_1958When Cardiff hosted the Games in 1958 1,122 athletes from 35 countries took part in ten sports.

In Delhi 6,081 athletes from 71 countries took part in 17 sports.

Chris Jenkins, executive director of the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales, said keeping the costs down is important.

"We've got a lot of venues in Cardiff and around South Wales we can modify and use in any bid," he said.

"It's important to remember the bid process is very long and complicated.

"I think we're well placed, though, and there's been a lot of work done in the last six months to lay the groundwork for a strong bid.

"Whether it's 2022 or 2026 doesn't matter, I'd urge people not to get hung up on the date.

"The important thing is we don't end up with a load of white elephants like Athens did after the [2004] Olympics with stadiums and venues they can't use for any other purpose."

A potential problem for Cardiff's bid, however, could be that Birmingham is also considering a bid - but for 2022.

It is unlikely that the Commonwealth Games Federation would award the Games to two cities in Britain back-to-back, especially as Glasgow is already hosting 2014.

But Lynn Davies, the 1968 Olympic long jump champion who is arguably Wales' best-ever athlete and is now the President of UK Athletics, is backing the proposed bid from Cardiff.

"When you look at what Wales has staged in the last decade, with the FA Cup finals, the Rugby World Cup and the Ryder Cup, I think Cardiff really is a sport city," he told the Western Mail.

"Why not capitalise on it and show the rest of the world what Cardiff and Wales has got?"

Source: www.newsday.co.tt

Lenn Hypolite, second from left, posing with members of the National Taekwondo TeamLENN Hypolite captured Trinidad and Tobago’s first ever gold medal at the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships on Monday.

He won the Men’s Welterweight Division at the 5th Commonwealth Championships in Chennai, India, beating Dale Rhodie of Scotland in the final by three points to one.

The final was delayed by three hours but Hypolite had already made himself known to the international community following his impressive performances in the earlier rounds.

On the way to the ring, Rhodie’s coach could be heard instructing him “Watch out for the back kick.”

This kick became popular after Hypolite used it effectively to defeat his counterpart in the semi-finals Kumar Kundu of Bangladesh 8-4.

The lengthy break ahead of the start of the final helped Hypolite, the 2008 Pan American silver medallist to recuperate following a tough semi-final encounter.

TT’s other entrant Avin Maharaj was beaten by Vanlairuata of India on the second day of the championships.

Maharaj made slow start but found rhythm in the second round, but was trailing by one point. In the third and final round Maharaj received a kick to the head which took him out of the contest.

 

What Is The Flag Handover Ceremony?

Delhi handover to Glasgow CeremonyThe Flag Handover Ceremony marks the flag handover from Delhi 2010 to Glasgow 2014 and includes an 8 minute creative programme to showcase Glasgow and Scotland to the rest of the Commonwealth.

The creative part of the Flag Handover Ceremony has not always been featured to the extent it is today. This portion of the ceremony has steadily become more extravagant over the years. At the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Flag Handover Ceremony, passing the flag to Delhi 2010 lasted 11 minutes – a Commonwealth record.

The Flag Handover Ceremony not only marks the Games passing from Delhi to Glasgow, but it also gives Scotland the opportunity to show, for the first time, to a global audience of around 1 billion, what it’s capable of.

Through the creative set, Glasgow invites the Commonwealth to participate in what are now effectively Scotland's Games, at the same time as India bids them farewell.

Procedures involved at the actual "handover" of the flag

The “handover” in the Flag Handover Ceremony refers to the official handing over of the Games to the new host city and all the responsibilities that go along with it. This happens at the exact moment the Lord Provost of Glasgow is presented with the Commonwealth Games Federation Flag; a symbolic gesture of Games ownership.

The CGF flag will be lowered by military personnel and passed to the Chief Minister of the Delhi Government, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, who will then pass the flag to the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Mike Fennell, who will then pass the flag to the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Bob Winter. The Lord Provist will then deliver a short speech which will be directly followed by the Flag Handover Ceremony.

At the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006, the Handover to Delhi featured a vibrant and colourful display of Bollywood stars and music. Bollywood and Hollywood stars Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukheriee and Saif Ali Khan took part in the performance to the choreographed steps of Shiamak Dayer.

The Queen closed the Manchester 2002 Games in the City of Manchester Stadium in front of 38,000 spectators. The ceremony mixed pop with pomp. Around 40,000 balloons were released into the rainy Manchester sky as the handover ceremony concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.

 

Source: www.insidethegames.bizBy Tom Degun in New Delhi

October 16 – Nalin Attygalle (pictured left), the man behind Hambantota's bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, claimed it would have been wrong for the Sri Lankan city to give a presentation to voters at an annual meeting ahead of the Opening Ceremony as it could have been viewed as an attack on India.

The Hambantota team were widely criticised for failing to give an optional presentation on their bid to Prince Edward, the Vice Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), and other high ranking officials who will decide where the 2018 Games will be held.

The Gold Coast in Australia, Hambantota's only rival for the event, gave a flawless performance at the meeting.

However, Attygalle said that while Hambantota regret the fact they couldn't show voters the strength of their bid in a presentation, they made the decision so as not to upset their strong allies India.

Attygalle told insidethegames: "Avoiding the presentation is something we have been heavily criticised for and something Hambantota would like to address, so let me explain.

"The presentations were scheduled to take place prior to the Opening Ceremony, and if you think back to what the circumstances were like for Delhi back then, the whole world - particularly the Indian media - were heavily criticising the Games and the Organising Committee.

"They were saying things like the Games is not going to happen, it is a complete failure and that only bad things will happen from the event.

"Some of the Western media were even saying it was the wrong decision to award the Games to an Asian country.

"Now, India is like Sri Lanka's big brother and at a time when India is under attack, does anybody really want Hambantota and Sri Lanka - a close friend of India - to give a presentation saying we can do a much better job than Delhi when the city is in trouble?


"If we had shown the strength of our bid at that stage, as another Asian city, it would have highlighted some of Delhi's weaknesses in the build-up to the Games and it could have had huge repercussions on the relationship between India and Sri Lanka.

"Therefore, it was a strategic decision we made as a team not to take up the kind offer to give an optional presentation.

"Yes, missing an opportunity to showcase what a fantastic Commonwealth Games Hambantota can host in 2018 is one minus point but maintaining good relations going forward is two plus points.

"We also knew from the start that India would do a far better job than the media had predicted so we thought it would be best for us to start our talking after Delhi now that things have gone quite well, as we predicted.

"India showed they have world class facilities to host a major sporting event and though there were a few problems along the way, that is a minor issue and India has done well.

"If you now ask to hear about Hambantota, we would be delighted to tell all about our beautiful city because India has overcome criticism to show that Asia can host a Commonwealth Games and host it well."

Hambantota presentation would have been seen as Attygalle added that a 2018 Commonwealth Games in Hambantota would be far different to Delhi 2010 because India was aiming to prove it could host an Olympic and Paralympic Games in the future.

He said: "India have built their Commonwealth Games on a huge scale so it has been like a mini-Olympics.

"It looks very much like the Games have been designed as a platform for the Olympics.

"But my only concern with that is that Commonwealth standards and Olympic standards are two different things.

"In the future, I think we must be aware of this and Hambantota would certainly conduct the Games in a far more compact way.

"The city is building and improving its infrastructure all the time following the devastation of the Tsunami [which decimated the country in 2004] and the Commonwealth Games would really help us continue to do that and provide a real sporting legacy to the people of Sri Lanka.

"We would conduct the 2018 Games in a very organised, very efficient way so that it wouldn't have any of the logistical problems Delhi had.

"But we on the Hambantota 2018 bid team are very proud of Delhi for showing that an Asian country can host a strong Commonwealth Games and I have learnt so much from being here and participating in the Candidate City Observer programme.


"We can now take the strengths of Delhi but also learn from the weaknesses."

Source: www.insidethegames.bizBy Tom Degun in New Delhi

Glasgow 2014 steals the show as curtain falls on Delhi Commonwealth GamesOctober 14 - New Delhi put on a Closing Ceremony of epic proportions here at a sell-out 60,000-seat Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as the 19th Commonwealth Games ended in spectacular fashion - although it was perhaps an eight-minute segment from the next Commonwealth Games hosts Glasgow that stole the show.

The Glasgow 2014 offering, which combined elements of traditional Scottish heritage, the beauty of rural Scottish life and the more modern, urban and dynamic cityscape in Glasgow, bought the rapturous crowd to their feet, such was popularity of the innovative display.

The modern take on a proud Scottish heritage was highly visible in the form of tartan, kilts, bagpipes and the Loch Ness monster, all of whom made an appearance in the mass-choreographed piece.

Iconic architecture of Glasgow was the centrepiece to the performance, in the form of a 30 metre long replica of one of Glasgow's famous buildings, the Clyde Auditorium, which is known by most as the "Armadillo".

The cast from every corner of Scotland, and from a variety of backgrounds and professions, will be given the opportunity to become formal Ambassadors for Glasgow 2014 in a night all 352 performers are sure to remember for the rest of their lives.

It was Prince Charles who had opened the 11-day competition in the Indian capital but it was actually Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex and vice-patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation, who drew proceedings to a close.

In the last major act of what had been a display full of bright colours and Bollywood vibrancy, Edward said: "On behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, Patron of the Commonwealth Games, and in the name of the Commonwealth Games Federation, I proclaim the XIX Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 closed and in accordance with tradition I call upon sportsmen and sportswomen of the Commonwealth to assemble in four years' time in Glasgow, Scotland, there to celebrate the XX Commonwealth Games."

The Closing Ceremony got under way with Prince Edward, Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan and Indian Vice President Shri M Hamid Ansari - as well as other dignitaries - taking their seats in the VIP box for the Indian National Anthem.

What followed was an amazing display of pyrotechnics and hypnotic cultural India dances about The Glory of Sports - featuring a martial arts display - Military Marshall Music, A Tribute to the Motherland and the Parade of Athletes.

The Parade of Athletes saw all 71 competing nations take to the arena together and receive a generous applause but a deafening reception was reserved for India as the hosts emerged.

India were in a particularly good mood as they held off England - claiming 38 gold medals to England's 37 - to secure their best ever finish of second on the final medal table behind victors Australia.

Following the Parade of the Athletes, golden moments from the Games were played on to the crowd and mascot Shera the tiger waved an emotional goodbye to the spectators.

It was then that dignitaries came to the stage in the form of Fennell, Delhi 2010 Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, Delhi chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Governor Tejinder Khanna, The Lord Provost of Glasgow Robert Winter and Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin.

Kalmadi made a speech thanking Delhi and the athletes for making the event a success, hailing a "new era for Indian sport" following their record haul of 101 medals.

Kalmadi, who received a hostile reception in the Opening Ceremony, was again booed by large sections of the audience during his speech.


Glasgow 2014 steals the show as curtain falls on Delhi Commonwealth GamesThe controversial Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games chairman, blamed by many for the problems that plagued the build-up to the events, said that India had overcome a series of concerns to host the Games and should be proud of their achievement.

Next came the Commonwealth Games Federation Flag Handover Ceremony as Dikshit said to The Lord Provost of Glasgow: "In a few moments the Commonwealth Games Federation Ceremonial Flag will be entrusted in your care so that in due time you deliver it to Glasgow, the host city of the XX Commonwealth Games to be held in 2014."

The Lord Provost of Glasgow responded: "This duty I willingly undertake to fulfil."

The flag was ceremoniously folded and handed from Kalmadi to Khanna, to The Lord Provost of Glasgow and finally to Lord Smith of Kelvin.

Then Lord Smith of Kelvin praised Delhi and invited the Commonwealth to come to Glasgow for the 2014 Games before the city performed their show-stealing eight-minute segment highlighting the beauty of Glasgow.

Following the spectacular Glasgow segment, Fennell made his own speech hailing the event as a success and thanking Delhi before naming the winner of the prestigious David Dixon Award which goes to the outstanding performer of the Commonwealth Games.

The popular Trecia Smith of Jamaica, who claimed gold in the women's triple jump event with a leap of 14.19m, was the winner.

Fennell then invited Prince Edward to the stage and The Earl of Wessex officially declared the XIX Commonwealth Games closed before a futuristic laser show started, more spectacular fireworks were let off, more blaring music was played and Delhi was left to party well in to the night.

Source: www.insidethegames.biz  By Duncan Mackay

 Source: www.insidethegames.biz  By Duncan Mackay   September 26 - Gold Coast's bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games could be aided by the problems which have overshadowed New Delhi's preparations, the city's Mayor Ron Clarke (pictured) has claimed, but he also warned Sri Lankan rivals Hambantota should not be written off because they may have the backing of China.   Clarke, the former world record holder for 10,000 metres, is optimistic that the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) members will view Gold Coast as a safe choice when they come to vote on the venue for 2018 at its meeting next year.  September 26 - Gold Coast's bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games could be aided by the problems which have overshadowed New Delhi's preparations, the city's Mayor Ron Clarke (pictured) has claimed, but he also warned Sri Lankan rivals Hambantota should not be written off because they may have the backing of China.

Clarke, the former world record holder for 10,000 metres, is optimistic that the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) members will view Gold Coast as a safe choice when they come to vote on the venue for 2018 at its meeting next year.

"We can be seen to be the new breath of fresh air, we could be the resurrection of the Games," he told the Brisbane Times.

"We could stage a wonderful Commonwealth Games and, if necessary, we could be the saviour of them."

Hambantota would be the smallest ever city to host the Games if they are chosen.

It has a population of only 11,000 - although that raises to 525,000 in the surrounding area - but is at the centre of a massive investment by China, who have identified it as a key strategic point in the Indian Ocean on the shipping route between the Suez Canal and the Malacca Straits.

Last month Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the first phase of a China-funded $1.5 billion (£973 million) port project in Hambantota.

"China is supporting them [Hambantota] and China has got lots of money to build new facilities and they have provided facilities and financial assistance to a lot of Commonwealth countries, particularly in Africa," said Clarke.

"So if they want to call in their charge, then no matter how it appears on the surface, that could have an influence on votes.

"We're respecting their bid - there's always that question about what does that Chinese investment mean for the bid, but no-one has the answers to those questions.

"This is not a lay down misere - you see what's happening in cricket at the moment, where suddenly there are different influences playing out.

"We're in a much more political world than we've ever been."

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh is due to travel to New Delhi later this week to continue lobbying on behalf of the Gold Coast's bid.

She will be joined by Federal Sport Minister Mark Arbib and other Gold Coast representatives CGF's General Assembly on Saturday (October 2) - the day before the Games are due to begin.

Source: www.insidethegames.biz By Tom Degun in New Delhi

Gold Coast bid chairman predicts tough battle for 2018 GamesOctober 12 - Mark Stockwell (pictured right), chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 bid team, told insidethegames his team faces a tough fight with Hambantota to secure the 21st Commonwealth Games - despite media reports suggesting the Australian city is the early front-runner.

Gold Coast stole a march on their rivals during their trip to Delhi by taking the opportunity to give a presentation to the 71 countries and territories of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) at a special meeting attended by Prince Edward just six days ago.

The Hambantota bid team chose not to make a presentation, despite the fact that attendees of the meeting will vote for the city that hosts the 2018 event, sparking claims that the competition is now the Gold Coast’s for the taking.

However, Stockwell completely dismissed such suggestions predicting the vote will come right down to the wire.

He said: "I felt that here in Delhi, the time was right to get on the front foot, play a few of our cards and show a little bit of what we’re about and what we have to offer.

"But to say that we’re ahead in the bid race or anything like that is just nonsense and I don’t believe that at all.

"It’s very much a two-horse race and Hambantota are definitely out there lobbying hard for it.

"They haven’t really played their hand yet, so to be honest I don’t really know anything at all about their bid.

"They’re holding their cards very close to their chest but they’ve obviously got their own game plan and they know what they are doing.

Gold Coast bid chairman predicts tough battle for 2018 Games"They may not have taken the opportunity to make a presentation on their bid but they have done everything that has been requested of them through the official channels so you can’t ask for much more.

"The best thing we can do though is concentrate on what we can deliver and we’re going to keep fighting as hard as we can.

"The Commonwealth Games is a competition where we pay homage to athletes’ competing and we are definitely in a competition with this bid so we’re competing hard."

After major problems in Delhi - ranging from health and safety concerns to reports of corruption and high profile athlete boycotts - it is considered likely that the CGF would be tempted to take the lower risk option of taking the 2018 Games to Australia, which has hosted the competition four times before, mostly recent in 2006 when Melbourne staged a highly successful event that earned more in sponsorship revenue than the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Paralympics.

Stockwell however, disagrees.

"It is fair to say the CGF know what they are going to get coming to the Gold Coast.

"They’ve all been to Sydney for the Olympic and Paralympics in 2000 and they’ve all been to Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games in 2006 so they know what we are going to offer.

"Yes, maybe we do offer the safer option on paper but there are times when the CGF will want to take a risk and take the Games to new parts of the world so that’s what we’re really up against.

"I mean, it would get a bit boring if the Commonwealth Games were the same all the time.

"I would say that we offer a different Games on the Gold Coast.

"Australia is such a big country that you can’t really compare Melbourne or Sydney to the Gold Coast geographically because they are so far away - it is almost like they are in different countries.

"I feel the Gold Coast would be a great addition to the Commonwealth Games because it’s relaxed, it’s really beautiful and the lack of formality from the laid back people there would be a great feature.

"We’re obviously over here working hard on building relationships with the Commonwealth Games family, learning from Delhi and actually working closely with the Glasgow 2014 team, who have been very helpful in sharing information which is great and how it should be.

"But we know we’ve got a real scrap on our hands with Hambantota and we’ll be giving it everything we’ve got until the end."

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