altAugust 21 - Hambantota's bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games has received the endorsement of Kip Keino, one of the most influential athletes in history and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Kenyan, visiting Sri Lanka to help promote the Colombo Marathon which is due to take place on October 2, has claimed that awarding the Games to Hambantota would help accelerate the development of the country's top athletes.

"I came to see what Sri Lanka can offer at Commonwealth Games in 2018," said Keino.

"What I saw here is a nation very rich with humanity, culture and great hospitality."

The Commonwealth Games played an important role in Keino's career.

It was his gold medals in the mile and three miles at the 1966 Games in Kingston, Jamaica, which launched him onto the international stage.

Two years later he won the 1500 metres at the Olympics in Mexico City and then at Munich in 1972 he claimed victory in the 3,000m steeplechase.

Keino's performances provided inspiration for more Kenyan runners to believe they could compete at the highest level, eventually leading to the dominance they enjoy now.

"I also saw a country with great potential in the field of sports," said Keino, who is now 71, after arriving in Sri Lanka.

"There are talented athletes in this country who are eager to move up to the global arena and what they need is exposure."

The Commonwealth Games Federation is due to choose the host city for 2018 at its Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 where Hambantota will face rivals the Gold Coast.

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

August 12 - Mike Fennell has confirmed that he will not seek re-election as President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) - leaving the way clear for Malaysia's Prince Tunku Imran to replace him, as first revealed exclusively on insidethegames.

The 76-year-old Jamaican is retiring after 17 years as President having overseen Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, Manchester in 2002, Melbourne in 2006 and New Delhi in 2010, which were all successful apart from the last one which was bedevilled with controversy over the building of infrastructure and security and is now at the centre of a major political row over corruption.

Imran, 63, was the only candidate to put himself forward when the deadline for candidates closed yesterday.

He is a former Malaysian squash champion and is the President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia vice-president of the CGF and Chairman of the CGF's Sports Committee.

He has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2006, having lead the Malaysian team to the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games as its Chef de Mission.

He has held a number of positions in world sport, including being President of the World Squash Federation from 1989 to 1996 and he was an Executive Board Member of the International Cricket Council from 1997 to 1999 and again from 2001 to 2008.

Professionally, Imran is a qualified barrister, company chairman and director.

Elections for the CGF Executive will take place in St Kitts on November 11, the same time that the CGF's 71 member nations will decide whether the Gold Coast or Hambantota will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

There will be four people chasing two places as vice-president, led by Kip Keino, the 1968 Olympic 1500m and 1972 3000 metres steeplechae champion.

He will face opposition from England's Ian Emmerson, Canada's Brude Robertson and Gideon Sam from South Africa.

Scotland's Louise Martin and Barbados' Austin Sealy will be unopposed for the role of general secretary and treasure respectively.

 

MEDIA RELEASE

SRI LANKA’S COMMONWEALTH BID SEEKS RUNS ON THE BOARD WITH FIRST INWARD MISSION FROM THE CARIBBEAN

26 July 2011 – Sri Lanka’s bid to host its first Commonwealth Games can be the catalyst for bringing the prestigious event back to the Caribbean for the first time in over half a century, Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chair Ajith Nivard Cabraal said today.

Cabraal, also Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, is driving the ‘island jewel of the Indian ocean’s’ bid to become only the 10th country to host the Games in its 80 year history.  His comments came as he welcomed Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) and affiliate bodies from a region that itself has only hosted the Games on one occasion: the 1966 Games in Kingston, Jamaica. It is the first in a series of ‘inward missions’ by Commonwealth members ahead of the vote to decide the host city at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) general assembly in St Kitts & Nevis on 11 November this year.

Now a bid described as ‘visionary, exciting and unique’ by CGF Evaluation Commission chair Louise Martin, may provide a blueprint for others in the 71-nation Commonwealth to follow.  The Caribbean delegates visiting Sri Lanka this week will already relate to the country’s island charm; how its passion for cricket is turning to a wide range of other sports; and its plans to identify and train talented athletes from a young age.

“We are delighted to welcome our friends from the Caribbean to Sri Lanka and are looking forward to coming to St Kitts & Nevis full of hope later this year,” said Cabraal.  “We have long shared a passion for cricket.  You think of Antigua’s Sir Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts and Richie Richardson.  Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Everton Weekes, Gordon Greenidge, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall from Barbados.  And of course Cardigan Connor as ‘chef de mission’ for Anguilla’s Commonwealth Games team in 2002.

“But we also share an island culture and a passion for sport in general.  Now we want to share our enthusiasm for these Games and show that other countries can get involved.  Our bid will not only make a huge difference for our unified nation.  It will give huge encouragement to the other 61 nations that have never hosted the Games and may wish to do so – including those from the Caribbean.”

Cabraal believes hosting the Games will see Sri Lanka stake claims for medals in the same way the country has done extraordinarily well in cricket.  Admitted as a Test-plating nation in 1981, Sri Lanka won the World Cup just 15 years later (1996) and finished runners-up in both 2007 and earlier this year when Hambantota itself staged two matches.

“It shows the talent is there but we just need a little inspiration and organisation,” he added.  “This is one of the main reasons behind our bid.  This is an extraordinary opportunity to get our young people energised in sport in general.  We look at Malaysia; prior to hosting the Games in 1998 Malaysia’s medal tally was four per Games but has risen to about 35 since.  An extraordinary change has taken place as a result of hosting the Games; that’s what we want to emulate.”

Such ambitions are supported by the launch of a new seven year national plan created by the Ministry of Sports and reflected in the country’s hosting of the South Asian Games in 2016, which means all venues and supporting infrastructure planned for the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be in place two years ahead of time.

Australia (1938, 1962, 1982, 2006) and Canada (1930, 1954, 1978, 1994) have hosted the Games four times; New Zealand (1950, 1974, 1990) three times; England (1934, 2002) and Scotland (1970, 1986) twice; and Wales (1958), Jamaica (1966), Malaysia (1998) and India (2010) once.  With Scotland hosting Glasgow 2014, a Hambantota 2018 Games will install Sri Lanka as the 10th country in an expanding list that would have added three ‘new’ hosts in the space of two decades.

The CGF’s Evaluation Commission visited Hambantota last month and plans to issue its report by 11 October one month ahead of the general assembly.  For more information on Hambantota 2018 visit: www.hambantota2018.com

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

The Caribbean delegation to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota 2018 bid included representatives from:

•         Commonwealth Games Association of Anguilla
•         Antigua & Barbuda Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association
•         Bahamas Olympic Association
•         Barbados Olympic Association Inc.
•         British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee
•         Dominica Olympic Committee
•         Grenada Olympic Association
•         Jamaica Olympic Association
•         St Kitts & Nevis Olympic Association
•         St Lucia Olympic Committee
•         St Vincent & The Grenadines


Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By: Tom Degun

August 9 – Hambantota is hopeful that its bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games will receive a major boost this week as the African Commonwealth delegation arrived in Sri Lanka to look at the plans to stage the event.

The votes of the African delegation are likely to play a crucial role in deciding who will host the competition when the decision is announced at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11.

The African delegation has already visited Hambantota's only rival for the event – the Gold Coast – and admitted they were highly impressed with what they saw in the Australian city last month.

However, Hambantota now have their own chance to impress the African delegation and Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the Hambantota co-chairman and Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, is hopeful Africa will want to take the event to a new country after seeing the success of the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup last year, which marked the first time the event was held in Africa.

"Africa shares our vision for life-changing sport," said Cabraal.

"Sport can be transformational, especially for children and young people and a prudent approach to bidding for and hosting major events can be the catalyst for sustainable social and economic development.

"We think there are clear synergies in how we are harnessing the power of sport to build a better tomorrow for our people."

The visit from the African delegation is the second 2018 voters' visit to Sri Lanka following the inspection from the Caribbean delegation last month.

Sri Lanka is vying to become the tenth country to host the Games in its 80 year history and Cabraal is confident they can achieve that dream.

"For us there is much more at stake than simply tourism and revenue generation," he said.

"As a unified nation Sri Lanka is on an exciting and progressive journey driven by its 10-year plan taking Sri Lanka to 2020.

"Bidding for and hosting the Games in 2018 is an integral part of this journey and will act as a catalyst in helping to achieve these ambitions together."

There will be 71 Commonwealth nations and territories eligible to vote for where the 2018 Commonwealth Games in staged on November 11 but the African delegation is highly important as they represent 19 votes.

Following their visit to Hambantota, the city will welcome delegations from Europe and Oceania next month before a visit from the Asian delegation in October.

Exclusive: Gold Coast try to diffuse row with Hambantota over 2018 Commonwealth GamesSource: insidethegames.biz | By Tom Degun

July 13 – The Gold Coast Bid team have moved to diffuse a row with Hambantota in the race to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games after claims were allegedly made from the Australian city criticising their Sri Lankan rivals and comparing their plans to last year's event in New Delhi, which they claimed was a "disaster".

Sri Lankan newspaper The Daily Mirror reported that Gold Coast 2018 chief executive Mark Peters had criticised Delhi and suggested that Hambantota will be a similar competition but the Australian city has claimed that this was not the case at all.

"The Bid team was certainly not criticising India but acknowledging some difficulties which many Games experience," a Gold Coast 2012 spokesperson told insidethegames.

"Informal surveys conducted by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association concluded that the Australian athletes enjoyed their Delhi experience.

"As our chairman, Mark Stockwell, recently stated we are focussing solely on the strengths of Gold Coast City bid when we engage with the delegates and are throwing all our energy into ensuring their visits are informative and demonstrate exactly how and why we will deliver a great Games in 2018 if our bid is successful."

Hambantota 2018 chief executive Nalin Attygalle had been reported in The Daily Mirror as saying: "We didn't compare ourselves with our neighbour because India is too big, but it is surprising that the Australians would run down another voting country such as India.

"There must be no underestimation of any developing country, especially with regards to the preparations for the Commonwealth Games.

"Sri Lanka is not seeking sympathy votes instead the votes we receive will be based on merit."

Attygalle though, claimed to insidethegames that his comments had not been correctly reported and that there was no row between the two cities bidding for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The race to host the 2018 has reached a critical stage with both having recently received a visit from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Evaluation Commission.

They are currently in the process of hosting voting delegates from the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories with a decision on where the event will be held made on November 11 this year in St Kitts and Nevis.

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

Hambantota is looking forward to hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games as an opportunity to demonstrate how Sri Lanka can interact with the rest of the world, bid chairman Ajith Nivard Cabraal (pictured) has said with only 100 days left until the vote to decide whether they or rivals Gold Coast should be chosen to stage the event.

Since their surprise decision to put themselves forward in April 2010, Hambantota have moved from rank outsiders to serious contenders and are growing increasingly confident ahead of success at the Commonwealth Games Federation Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11, where the host city will be chosen.

Cabraal, who is also the chairman of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, believes that Sri Lanka can continue the recent trend of major events being awarded to emerging markets.

"Hitherto it has traditionally been the most advanced nations that have done this [staged the major Games]," he said.

"But it is not necessarily so now.

"There is a general feeling in the world that emerging countries should also be given the opportunity.

"Given the opportunity there is more countries like us who can emerge and do well."

Hambantota was hit hard by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and s currently undergoing a number of major development projects funded by China and India.

But Cabraal claims that hosting the Commonwealth Games is a chance for Sri Lanka to show that it can develop by itself.

"We must move away from this aid mentality where we have to eternally go and ask people for aid," he said.

"That is not the way we should be looking at it.

"We should look at how can we participate with the rest of the world, how do we make ourselves opportunities, how we interact with the rest of the world.

"And that is the opportunity we will receive when we host the Games and I am very much looking forward to doing that."

Cabraal's confidence has been fuelled by the recent visit of a delegation from the Caribbean, who visted Hambantota to inspect the bid.

"The hsopitaly has been overwhelming," said Steve Stoute, the President of the Barbados Olympic Committee.

"I've been to vitrually every Commonwealth Games going back to 1966 and this is the first time I've seen such a compact bid with all the venues and facilities within walking distance from the Games village.

"So, from my perspective, I'm very impressed with what I've seen."

Jamaica's Teddy McCook, a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruling Council, claimed that if Hambantota were to win then they had to sell their message.

"I think it's now up to the Sri Lanka Organising Committee to market what you have produced," he said.

"I think if you are able to do this I am sure you will get the support of the countries that will participate."

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