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.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.

 

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."


 

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.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?"

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