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.trinidadexpress.com

Delhi closes on a highDelhi put on a second flawless spectacle of song and dance yesterday to close the Commonwealth Games on a high after at one stage threatening to become a national embarrassment to India.

The US$6 billion Games started in crisis and struggled through a first week of organisational blunders before finally getting into its stride to leave athletes happy and a host nation proud of its best-ever showing in the sporting arena.

Read more: Delhi closes on a high

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.bbc.co.uk

NZ  win Commonwealth sevens gold medalNew Zealand won Commonwealth rugby sevens gold after recovering from 10 points down to beat Australia 24-17.

The Kiwis scored the last three tries of the Delhi final to secure their fourth successive Commonwealth title.
England missed out on a medal after losing 33-12 to New Zealand in the semi-finals and 17-14 to South Africa in the match for bronze.

Read more: NZ win Commonwealth sevens gold medal

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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