Source: 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.
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