Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Tom Degun

June 14 - Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the co-chairman of Hambantota 2018 and Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, has claimed hosting the Commonwealth Games would showcase to the world that the country has truly emerged from the devastating tsunami in 2004 which ripped the area to pieces.

Hambantota was one of the cities hit the hardest by the Indian Ocean tsunami just over six years ago that left more than 35,000 people dead in Sri Lanka.

The majority of buildings in Hambantota were destroyed and over 500,000 people were left homeless but the coastal city has since undergone a number of major development projects as part of the recovery from the disaster.

These include the construction of a new seaport, a new international airport and an international cricket stadium, which hosted matches during the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, but Cabraal believes that Hambantota winning the right to stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games would unequivocally show to the world that the country has finally overcome the damage left by the tsunami.


"It [the Commonwealth Games] gives the opportunity for Sri Lanka to showcase to the world that we have emerged out of the Tsunami, that we have emerged out of the conflict and that we have truly reconciled," said Cabraal.

"So this will give us a great opportunity to show to the world how Sri Lanka has transformed itself and also give us the sense of occasion, as well as catalytic effect to bring about that change.

"So I think it will be an absolutely life changing exercise and experience for Sri Lanka and we are hoping that we will have a great chance of hosting the Games."

Hambantota are currently locked in a two-horse race to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games against the Gold Coast in Australia.

Both cities are set face the most important stage of the bid so far with the 2018 Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Evaluation Commission, chaired by Scotland's Louise Martin, set to visit both candidate cities later this month.

The Commission will visit the Gold Coast from June 20-23, before travelling to Hambantota from June 27-30, but Cabraal is in confident mood ahead of the technical inspection and feels that a Commonwealth Games in Sri Lanka can provide a real legacy that will impress the CGF.

"We are going to have Hambantota developed to be a sport city and, at the same time, the sport city will have other areas of commercial interest," he said.

"For example it will also be an IT city and together with the seaport that is now being developed and the airport that is being developed, we will have another area from which Sri Lanka's growth will be supported.

"So we will have several pockets of growth in Sri Lanka which will then ensure that the entire country can be developed so that it [the 2018 Commonwealth Games] can be a truly inspiring event for the city as well as the country.

"But it will also be a fantastic opportunity for the Commonwealth to show that there are emerging countries who can come forward to host the Games, not just those few countries who have hosted the Commonwealth Games so far.

"There are 71 nations that constitute the Commonwealth and it is good to show that more of them are going to be competing to host the Games in the future."

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Source: www.insidethegames.com

By Tom Degun

June 13 - Queensland's Government has pledged that over 30,000 new jobs will be created in the Gold Coast should the Australian coastal city stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Queensland's Treasurer Andrew Fraser (pictured) has forecast the creation of 140,000 jobs in Queensland over the next two years ahead of the State Budget announcement tomorrow, which will be driven by a $14 billion (£9 billion) capital works programme.

However, Fraser said there would be around a 30,000 increase on the number if the Gold Coast holds off Sri Lankan rivals Hambantota to win the right to host the Games, with a decision due from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) at its Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 this year.

"There's no doubt that the Gold Coast will play a big part in Queensland's next wave of prosperity," he said.

"The Commonwealth Games, should our bid be successful, will be a big driver of construction jobs in the lead-up to 2018.

"There's also little doubt that once the world sees the Gold Coast as host of the Games, there will be a swag of economic benefits, including more jobs in sectors like tourism and retail."

Last month, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh outlined the major economic benefits the 2018 Commonwealth Games would bring to the Gold Coast and urged the local public to back the bid.

"An independent economic assessment has estimated that the potential economic benefit of staging the Games to be up to $2 billion (£1.3 million)," she said.

"These Games would leave a permanent legacy for the Gold Coast and a huge boost for tourism and accommodation providers - there are 19,915 hotel beds within a 10 kilometres radius of Carrara Stadium alone."

Gold Coast 2018 chairman Mark Stockwell added: "The Games Village will kick start the Health and Knowledge Precinct at Parklands, which is part of the city's bold vision.

"The investment at Carrara will deliver on Council's economic vision to broaden its sports tourism economy and the Commonwealth Games will deliver the event that will put the Gold Coast on the international map once again and will be the focus for the Gold Coast to become a world class city.

"To achieve this we need to win the vote of the 71 voting delegates in November.

"This is why we need the whole community behind the bid.

"It's our time to shine."

The 2018 bid race has now reached a crucial stage with the CGF Evaluation Commission, chaired by Scotland's Louise Martin, set to visit both candidate cities later this month.

The Commission will visit the Gold Coast from June 20-23 before travelling to Hambantota from June 27-30.

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Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

June 2 - South Africa are planning to launch a campaign to host the 2022 Commonweatlh Games after the disappointment of being forced to drop plans to bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics because of lack of Government support, they announced today.

The event has been never staged in Africa and a bid from South Africa will be welcomed by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), keen to take it to new markets.

"Immediately after the announcement of where the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held, we will go in for 2022," said Gideon Sam, the President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASOC),

"It has never been to Africa and so we want to put in a bid."

The host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games is due to be chosen by the CGF at its annual meeting in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 where the candidates will be the Gold Coast and Hambantota.

South Africa was widely expected to bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics following the success of last year's FIFA World Cup but Jacob Zuma's Government decided not to back a bid, saying it wanted to focus on delivering basic services such as water and electricity to all its citizens.

But Sam said there was nothing to stop the country bidding for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Sam did not specify which city South Africa proposed to put forward but Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth had all hoped to bid for the Olympics while Cape Town had also initially expressed interest before withdrawing because of the costs involved.

He told reporters at the 30-day countdown to the 123rd International Olympic Committee Session to be held in Durban in July that South Africa had previously stepped back to allow other countries to bid for the Commonwealth Games.

"In the past we stood back for Nigeria [Abuja] but they lost out to Glasgow [for the right to host the 2014 Games]," he said.

"This time we have said there will be no horse-trading, we will put up our hand and see how we go."

Sam added that a bid for the Commonwealth Games would not be hampered by the same issues that affected a possible Olympics bid.

"The scale of the Commonwealth Games is a lot smaller than the Olympics," he said.

"We will have to have buy-in from a host city and from Government, because of security issues, but we are not talking about the expense of an Olympics."

South Africa's decision to bid for the Games will be a blow to several cities in Britain, including Birmingham and Cardiff, who have both expressed an interest in bidding for 2022.

The CGF are due to choose the host city for 2022 at its meeting in 2015.

Sam hopes that by successfully hosting the Commonwealth Games it could be the platform for a bid for the Olympics and Paralympics.

But he warned that the Government must be fully behind it.

"Remember when we started this whole process, we said that this is Government, they can host it and not the National Olympic Committee," Sam said.

"So we were always cautious about running ahead of the whole process.

"That's what we said, once Government shows appetite for the games, we will then be able to."

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Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Tom Degun

June 7 - Mark Stockwell (pictured), chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 bid team, has revealed that he is fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of rivals Hambantota but that he simply wants to focus on his own bid.

The Australian and Sri Lankan cities are currently locked in a fierce two-horse race to win the right to stage the Commonwealth Games, with a decision on the host city due to be announced at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 this year.

The bid race is now entering a crucial stage with both Bid Books having been submitted last month and the CGF 2018 Evaluation Commission, chaired by Scotland's Louise Martin, set to visit both candidate cities later this month.

However, while Stockwell claims to know all about his rival, he says he is far more concerned about the Gold Coast.

"I'm a big believer in focusing and worrying about the things that you can influence and not stressing about the things that you've got absolutely no control over," Stockwell said on ABC Radio.

"And I've got no control over Hambantota's bid.

"To be honest, I know where their weaknesses are and I know where their strengths are but I don't need to read their Bid Book to know that.

"I think our strengths are the fact that the world sporting community knows that Australia can run excellent multi-sport international events and the experiences of Sydney in 2000 [when Australia successfully hosted the Summer Olympics and Paralympics] and Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games in 2006 are still at the forefront of all the delegates' minds.

"But I just think it is pointless [for me to discuss Hambantota].

"I am in a competition and you might think I'm being a bit flippant but I am just focused on the end game.

"I don't want to talk about their bid; I want to talk about our bid.

"Sorry but that is just the way I am."

Meanwhile the CGF Evaluation Commission is set to visit the Gold Coast from June 20-23, before visiting Hambantota from June 27-30.

The five person Commission will consist of Martin, CGF chief executive Mike Hooper, President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) Gideon Sam, secretary general of the Barbados Olympic Association Erskine Simmonds and executive director of The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) Andrew Ryan.

"Gold Coast City is honoured and proud to be Australia's candidate city and we look forward to the next phase of the bid and welcoming Commonwealth Games Associations to our city," said Stockwell.

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By Duncan Mackay in Kuala Lumpur

Mike Fennell in Delhi 2010.Mike Fennell is set to end his 17-year reign as President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) after promising Malyasia's Prince Tunku Imran (pictured) that he will not stand against him in the elections later this year.

The Jamaican has held the position since first being elected at Victoria in Canada in 1994 but will step down in November at the Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis when Tunku, who has been the CGF's vice-president since 2003, is expected to be the only candidate.

Fennell told Tunku that he would not seek another term during a telephone call earlier this week.

Fennell had been forced to miss this week's Executive Board meeting of the CGF because he is currently recovering in Jamaica from triple heart bypass surgery he underwent recently.

"I was in contact with Mike Fennell to let him know that I'd like to announce my candidancy during the time of the EB, particularly as so many [CGF] regional vice-presidents were here," 63-year-old Tunku told insidethegames.

"I did announce to the Board that I would be standing.

"Mike Fennell (pictured) said to me, 'If you are standing then I won't'.

"He's said he is going to stand down."

Tunku, whose late father Tuanku Jaafar was Malaysia's King between 1994 and 1999, has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2006 and President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia since 1998, the year that Kuala Lumpur became the first country in Asia to host the Commonwealth Games.

That event is widely credited with helping reinvigorate the Games.

"Since Kuala Lumpur the Federation has gone...to something that is much bigger," Tunku said.

"Our vision was that the Games should represent what the Commonwealth is best at.

"We made it happen."

Tunku now wants to carry on that philosophy when he is elected as President.

One of the first things he plans to do is to arrange a strategic review early next year involving the GCF, Commonwealth Games Associations and sports to discuss the future direction of the events, including how to get the top athletes like Usain Bolt to compete.

"I'm keen not to change direction but to strengthen the Federation in so many ways," he said.

"We need to be better known.

"We have to try establish the desire of top athletes to want to be part of the Games, without obviously getting into the payment of monies because we can't go down that route.

"We've got to change the perception of the top athletes.

"That's to do with how we market the Games and position the Games."

Tunku also wants to continue encouraging more countries from around the Commonwealth to bid for the Games following last year's event in New Delhi and the candidature from Hambantota in Sri Lanka for 2018.

"We really want to get Commonwealth countries who have never had the Games that are capable of doing a good Games really to start bidding," he said.

"Singapore is a classic case [and] South Africa has three cities which could do the Games very well."

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Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Tom Degun

Sean McGoldrick vs Manju Wanniarachchi. Photo zimbio.comWelsh boxer Sean McGoldrick will finally be awarded the gold medal in the men's bantamweight division from the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games at a special ceremony at the Sport Wales National Centre at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff tomorrow evening.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) made the announcement - confirming last week's exclusive report on insidethegames - following the removal of Manju Wanniarachchi from the results, after the Sri Lankan boxer was found guilty of an anti-doping violation at the Delhi Games.

The Commonwealth Games Council for Wales has organised the special ceremony in Cardiff for McGoldrick to pay homage to the achievement of the 19-year-old.

"Sean is a very deserving gold medallist," said Mike Hooper, the chief executive of the CGF, who is due to present the medal to McGoldrick.

"It has been unfortunate that Sean has had to wait so long for a medal that is rightly his.

"He showed great sportsmanship during the Games at Delhi and this has continued throughout the months that followed so I will be delighted to present the gold medal to him tomorrow."

The opportunity for Wanniarachchi to appeal lapsed without the athlete taking any further action and the disqualification of the Sri Lankan from all results in Delhi has led to a re-awarding of medals from the event.

McGoldrick, who at 18 was the youngest member of Wales' boxing team and lost the 56kg weight-division final on count back, now takes the gold.

The silver medal has been awarded to Tirafalo Seoko from Botswana, who lost to Wanniarachchi at the semi-finals.

The man who lost to McGoldrick in the semi-finals, Louis Julie from Mauritius, retains his bronze, while the second bronze medal has gone to Nicholas Okoth from Kenya, who was defeated by Wanniarachchi in the quarterfinals.

Wanniarachchi's gold medal has been returned to the CGF but, as it is not in top condition, McGoldrick will be presented with a brand new official Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Chris Jenkins, Chef de Mission of Team Wales in Delhi said: "Sean must be commended for not only his fantastic performance in Delhi but also for how he's handled himself since this all came to light.

"He's proved himself to be the model professional and it couldn't happen to anyone more deserving."

"It's also a time for Wales to celebrate as we've seen our position in the overall standing rise by two, we now feature in 13th position, equal to Melbourne 2006.

"With Glasgow just over three years off and the [Commonwealth] Youth Games just a matter of months away, this gives our athletes yet another boost in their preparations."

Hooper continued that all medallists from the event had a right to feel proud of their achievements.

"Congratulations from the Commonwealth Games Federation go to all the medallists as they now stand," he said.

"We will get the silver to Tirafalo Seoko and the bronze to Nicholas Okoth immediately.

"Their names, along with Sean's and the other bronze medallist, Louis Julie, will be enshrined in the Commonwealth Games records as the medallists for the men's boxing 56kg division from Delhi 2010 forever."

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