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."

 

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


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.

Hambantota presents strong case for 2018 GamesThe Commonwealth Games Federation Evaluation Commission has completed its four-day visit to Sri Lanka, declaring Hambantota a strong candidate for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Evaluation Commission chairman, Louise Martin from Scotland, said her five member panel had been impressed with the vision held by local authorities to host the 2018 Games.

The Commission – which also includes Mr Gideon Sam, President South Africa Sports Confederation and National Olympic Committee, Mr Erskine Simmons, Secretary General Barbados Olympic Committee, Mr Andrew Ryan, Executive Director, ASOIF, and Mr Mike Hooper, CGF CEO – held high-level discussions with representatives of national, district and local governments and senior representatives of the bid team during its visit.

The Commission’s visit to Sri Lanka follows time spent on the Gold Coast in Australia last week, the other 2018 Commonwealth Games candidature city.

“Overall, the proposal of staging the Commonwealth Games in Hambantota is an exciting one and, given the development of the relevant infrastructure, will provide a unique Games experience for the athletes and other Games client groups,” Mrs Martin said.

“We have been impressed with the vision for Sri Lanka and Hambantota and now have a clear view of where the hosting of the Commonwealth Games could fit within that vision.

“The leadership shown by the national and district governments is impressive.  The alignment of agencies around the national, regional and Games vision is equally impressive.

“As you would expect more than seven years out, and with considerable additional work to be done in forming the final Games plan, there are some matters which simply cannot be, or do not need to be, known at this stage.

“That said, the foundations for a great Games are laid in the plans which are now being locked down by the governments, the bid team and the Sri Lankan Commonwealth Games Association.”

Mrs Martin said that it had been a fruitful visit to the country, with the day in Hambantota providing great insight to that region’s aspirations.

“We met the Hambantota people and those who are already doing the work necessary to build this city and region and we noted substantial progress and have no doubt about the resolve to deliver the necessary infrastructure by 2016.

“It is clear that in meeting the requirements for the 2018 Commonwealth Games important legacies can be generated for the region and, indeed the country.

The Commission will release its report on the two bid cities by October 11th a month before the vote at the Federation’s General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11.

BBC Domestic Broadcast Rights Holder for Glasgow 2014Glasgow 2014 has appointed the BBC as the Domestic Broadcast Rights Holder for the XX Commonwealth Games.

The BBC investment in Glasgow 2014 reflects the importance of the Games to the Home nations and offers the Organising Committee an unparalleled platform for the promotion of the Games to the widest possible UK audience.

The BBC Network offers coverage of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games through the BBC One and BBC Two television networks, news coverage across the BBC Radio and TV networks (including Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra), red button interactive and/or IPTV services, the BBC Sport website and international promotion of the Games through BBC World News and the BBC World Service.  

In addition, it is expected that the BBC’s Nations and Regions sport and news teams for television, radio and online will generate considerable additional interest by focusing on the performance of local competitors in those parts of the British Isles which compete at the Games as separate teams.

The BBC has a long association with the Commonwealth Games which dates back to the first British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954, and the organisation will bring unrivalled experience of covering major multi-sport Games.

Glasgow 2014 anticipates significant benefits from this experience in relation to shaping the host broadcast production of the Games, to ensure the highest quality output is achieved.  

Glasgow 2014 Chairman, Lord Smith of Kelvin said:

“I am delighted that the BBC has taken up the domestic rights for the Commonwealth Games and I believe this deal represents a huge vote of confidence in Glasgow 2014 as well as the Commonwealth Games movement in general. We anticipate some of the world’s highest profile athletes will compete at our Games, fresh from their successes at London 2012.

“The added spice will be seeing the stars of Team GB in their own national colours in Glasgow, just two years later. The BBC’s reach will help us to generate a huge level of excitement and anticipation in the lead up to the biggest event Scotland will ever have hosted.”

Ken MacQuarrie, Director of BBC Scotland, said:

“BBC Scotland will have a special role at the heart of our coverage in giving the Games extensive exposure in Scotland across our dedicated TV, radio and online services – all of which will make the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games a truly momentous occasion in Scotland.”
Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said:
"The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will showcase Scotland to the world and this is another key milestone in the delivery of the Games.  While we urge everyone to come to Scotland and be part of this great event, I am pleased that the award of the domestic rights to the BBC means that most people in the UK will be able to enjoy the spectacle of the Games on free to view television in their homes.
“Income from the sale of broadcasting rights is a welcome contribution to the Games Budget alongside the funds provided by the Scottish Government and its funding partners."

Note to Editors

1.    The BBC’s network television channels are watched by 85% of the population each week, whilst 66% listen to the BBC’s national radio stations.
2.    The BBC’s submission to the David Davies Review of listed sporting events stated the following:   “The Commonwealth Games is second only to the Olympics in bringing together so many countries to compete in many sports and events. As England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland compete as separate teams, the Games are particularly important to the nations. Glasgow has been selected to host the Games in 2014. When the Games were hosted by Manchester in 2002, they reached 40.3 million people – nearly 73% of the UK population, a level of reach on a par with the Olympics, the football World Cup and Euros (i.e. over 40 million). The audience peaked at 9.7 million for the Closing Ceremony.”
3.    For media queries for Glasgow 2014 please contact Glasgow 2014 PR Manager Holly Wheeler on 0141 287 3457 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
4.    For media queries for the BBC, please contact Head of Communications Roy Templeton on 0141 422 6315 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

HAMBANTOTA 2018 LAUNCHES LIFE-CHANGING LEGACY PLANMEDIA RELEASE
HAMBANTOTA 2018 LAUNCHES LIFE-CHANGING LEGACY PLAN
- FINAL DAY OF CGF EVALUATION COMMISSION VISIT-


30 June 2011 – Sri Lanka’s bid to host its first Commonwealth Games will leave a life-changing legacy for its 20 million people, according to a Hambantota 2018 Legacy Plan published today – the final day of the visit by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Evaluation Commission.

Titled ‘Enhancing Lives and Transforming a Nation’, the plan outlines how the tear-drop shaped nation will harness the power of sport and the benefits of becoming a host city before, during and after the event.  It includes visions for four inter-related legacy themes – sport, society, the economy, and environment – with objectives, targets and actions/programmes for each.

Those under ‘Sport’ will see the already under construction Sports City and associated infrastructure matching the best in world.  Such investment will support a comprehensive sporting events calendar.  Games-related development programmes will promote sport for all, encourage increased and sustained levels of participation, and identify and develop talent.  And there will be investment at grassroots level through in schools, development of local sports clubs, up-skilling of coaches and greater involvement of National Sports Federations at all levels.

‘Social & Education’ actions include the introduction of Games-related education programmes in schools.  An international exchange programme for young people across the Commonwealth will foster goodwill, promote understanding of different cultures and endorse the Commonwealth values.  And a University housed in the futuristic Sports City will specialise in Sports Science, Sports Technology and Sport Business, offering entrance credit for talented athletes; it will also seek to retain talent in the country, increase entrepreneurs and promote young, innovative businesses.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chairman and Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, said: “Hosting the Games in Hambantota will make a real difference.  We will use the Games as a catalyst for social change, to accelerate our existing long term economic development plans, and most importantly to deliver wide ranging benefits to all our society and help change people’s lives.  Our Legacy Plan shows how we will do so in a manner that befits an initiative driven by the ideals of the Commonwealth – Humanity, Equality, Destiny – and underpinned by our credo for 2018: ‘Together.  From the heart.’”

The development of Hambantota and the surrounding area is already starting to deliver significant city infrastructure projects including new roads and rail routes, the Hambantota International Airport and the Hambantota Seaport.  Further developments cited under ‘City Infrastructure & Economic Development’ include a new IT/business park and will support substantial future investment in hotels, retail and the business/commercial sector.  Increased foreign economic investment into Hambantota as it becomes one of five ‘metro cities’ and an economic hub to do business in and from – to Asia – will create exciting opportunities for the national workforce.

‘Environmental Protection & Enhancement’ programmes include innovative approaches to city planning, utility resourcing and supply and sustainable design and environmental protection, with the development of the ‘new city’ offering a unique blank canvas.

Sri Lanka's Sports Minister and Co-Chairman of the Organising Committee, Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage, added: “We want to set new standards in legacy planning for the Commonwealth Games movement.  These standards reflect our passion, commitment and aspirations to harness the power and ambition of the Commonwealth Games movement to help create opportunities and outcomes that enrich the lives of people.  But our Legacy Plan is not just about Hambantota and Sri Lanka.  These visions will transcend the Commonwealth, especially to emerging and developing nations, reaching out to new communities with new opportunities.”

The Hambantota 2018 Legacy Plan is intrinsically linked to existing long term development plans.  ‘Taking Sri Lanka to 2020’ addresses the recovery from 26 years of internal conflict; The Greater Hambantota Development Plan’ sets out to open up the region as a gateway to Asia; and a new Seven Year Strategic Plan for Sport aims to transform the overall sporting landscape of Sri Lanka – the ultimate goal being to be amongst the top three medal winning Commonwealth countries in 2018.  Its progress will be overseen by a Legacy Commission comprising representatives from government departments, public sector organisations and private sector companies.

The Plan was launched by Hambantota 2018 Co-Chairs Governor Cabraal and Minister Aluthgamage at a ceremony in honour of the CGF Evaluation Commission at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in Colombo.  The CGF Evaluation Commission departs the ‘island jewel of the Indian ocean’ today having spent four days assessing its capability of hosting the Games in 2018.  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 Legacy Plan ‘Enhancing Lives and Transforming a Nation’ includes four inter-related legacy themes:

1.       Sport;

2.       Social and Education;

3.       City Infrastructure & Economic Development; and

4.       Environmental Protection & Enhancement.

The vision and headline objectives for each of the four inter-related legacy themes are:

1.       Sport

Vision: For the Games to act as a catalyst to develop Sports City, a new venue for world sport and provide a launch pad for Sri Lanka’s Seven Year Strategic Plan for Sport, transforming the sporting landscape, inspiring athletes and promoting sport at all levels and across all sports.

Headline objectives:

  • To develop a world-class Sports City in Hambantota that meets the needs of all users in legacy mode – elite and developing athletes from home and abroad, university, local community and resident population
  • To win more medals and support improved levels of performance by Sri Lankan athletes across the Commonwealth sports
  • To use the Games as a platform to attract and stage events in Hambantota, the Southern Province and Sri Lanka
  • To use the Games as a catalyst to encourage and increase levels of participation, particularly amongst young people and women, with clear progression routes along the participant pathway from grassroots through to elite performance
  • To produce and support the ongoing development of world leading coaches, officials and sports administrators
  • To implement the Athlete Training and development Support Programme for participants from across the Commonwealth
  • To develop a monitoring and evaluation system for future monitoring of the development of Sri Lankan sport


2.       Social & Education

Vision: To use the Games and sport as a catalyst for social change, promoting a culture where sport, education, healthy lifestyles and personal development are integral to people’s everyday lives and providing new opportunities, particularly for women and young people.

Headline objectives:

  • To empower communities through promoting opportunities for community involvement and fostering a culture of volunteering
  • To use the Games to raise awareness of the values of the Commonwealth Games Movement through education programmes
  • To develop a sport and business focused University


3.       City Infrastructure & Economic Development

Vision: To deliver significant major infrastructure that supports Hambantota’s economic development and growth, promoting new investment, tourism and contributing to the economic growth of the District, Province and country.

Headline objectives:

  • To develop new city infrastructure to support economic growth, promote further investment and raise the international profile
  • To create new business opportunities, attract inward investment, encourage innovation, create new jobs, strengthen Hambantota’s position within Sri Lanka and Asia
  • To enhance Hambantota’s and Sri Lanka’s profile as a tourist destination, increasing tourism spend and length of stay as well as promoting higher standards in the hospitality industry
  • To enhance the training and development of business, IT and sports management professionals to help retain talent nationally and promote reverse migration

 

4.       Environmental Protection & Enhancement

Vision: To use the Games to introduce and raise awareness of existing and new environmental protection initiatives that will transform Hambantota into one of Sri Lanka’s greenest cities – a beacon of excellence for other developing and emerging Commonwealth countries.

Headline objectives:

  • To use the Games as a catalyst to enhance environmental standards and sustainability energy practices
  • To increase environmental awareness and participation in environmental protection programmes
  • To protect the local biodiversity and wildlife through strategic urban planning
  • To ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of these environmental commitments


About the Hambantota 2018 emblem and strapline

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 emblem and strapline are available on request as jpeg and/or eps files.

For further information on Hambantota 2018 visit www.hambantota2018.com

Media contact:

Malcolm Munro

+44 (0) 207 861 3217
+44 (0) 7795 013 006

Edd Ross

+44 (0) 207 861 3133

+44 (0) 7980 011 357

+44 (0) 7980 011 357

Source: www.cgf.com

June 23, 2011

The Commonwealth Games Federation Evaluation Commission has completed its visit to the Gold Coast in Australia, impressed with the plans of the 2018 bid city.

The Gold Coast is in a two-city battle to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, with Hambantota in Sri Lanka also out to win the support of the 71 Commonwealth countries who will determine the winner in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 this year.

The CGF Evaluation Commission, lead by Scotland’s Louise Martin, has spent four days on the Gold Coast, meeting with the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, Gold Coast Mayor, Ron Clark, as well as representatives from Federal, State and local governments, the bid team and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.
Martin is well versed in the bidding process, having successfully chaired Glasgow’s campaign to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“The foundations to a great Games are laid in the Gold Coast plans, which are now being locked down by the governments, the bid team and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association,” Martin said.

“Over all, we can tell you that the proposition of staging the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast is an exciting one and appears, based on our initial analysis, to be sound.

“Not only does it appear that the basic infrastructure requirements can be met, it also seems that in meeting these Games requirements important legacies can be generated for the city and region.

“These legacies will include improved community infrastructure, improved transport, an acceleration of important economic drivers such as the Knowledge Precinct and other social programs.

“Having been here and experienced four glorious days, we understand well why the Gold Coast is one of Australia's tourist capitals.

“The international audience and focus that the Commonwealth Games will bring to the Gold Coast should it be the successful bid city, will further enhance the international standing and image of the Gold Coast and assist to promote it as one of the world's great destinations. So there is much to gain should the Games come to the Gold Coast.”

The CGF Evaluation Commission will now travel to Hambantota, commencing its visit on Monday June 27.

The Commission will release its report on the two bid cities by October 11th, a month before the vote at the Federation’s General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11.

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Tom Degun in the Gold Coast

June 21 - The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Evaluation Commission have claimed that they are unconcerned by the nature of Hambantota's bid for the 2018 event despite the fact that only one of the major sporting venues in the Sri Lankan city has been completed.

The five-person Commission, chaired by Scotland's Louise Martin, are currently undertaking a four-day inspection of the Gold Coast, Hambantota's only rivals for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, before they head to Sri Lanka next week from June 27-30.

A large part of the visit to the Gold Coast will see the Commission taken on site visits to key venues such as the Carrara Stadium with the large majority of the proposed 2018 Commonwealth Games venues in the Australian city having been completed.

But in stark contrast, the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium (pictured), which opened in February 2011 and staged two matches during the ICC 2011 World Cup, is the only proposed 2018 Commonwealth Games venue to have been built where it is scheduled to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the archery if the 2018 bid is successful.

Therefore the majority of the of the Commission's stay in Sri Lanka will see them located in the country's largest city, the capital Colombo, for a series of virtual presentations with only a one day visit to Hambantota but CGF chief executive Mike Hooper, one of the members of the five-person Commission, said this poses no problem at all.

"Hambantota is a developing city and it is no secret that the majority of their venues have not yet been built," Hooper told insidethegames.

"But they are hugely ambitious and there are plans for Hambantota developed into a sport city regardless of whether they are awarded Commonwealth Games.

"In fact all of the venues will be built except the Velodrome and the temporary venues even if the bid is unsuccessful.

"There is also new the seaport that is being developed and a major new airport under construction meaning that the area will soon be a hub of prosperity for Sri Lanka so we are not at all concerned by the nature of their bid."


Hambantota are planning a compact bid with all the venues in the same area and they have stated that all planned 2018 Commonwealth Games venues will be ready by 2016 when the city is due to host the South Asian Games.

Martin echoed Hooper's comments, claiming that the Glasgow's successful bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which she headed, was similar to the Hambantota bid in that few of the major Games venues were built during the bid stage.

"We won the 2014 bid on a Village that was virtual," she said.

"You can't expect to have everything there seven years out."

Day one of the Commission's visit to the Gold Coast was largely made up of presentations but day two and three will consist of site visits and a tour of the city via helicopter before proceedings are concluded with a final press conference on day four.

Following both visits, the Commission will produce a final Evaluation report for voting delegates which is due to be published this September and likely to play a crucial role in deciding where the 2018 Commonwealth Games are staged when the vote for them takes place at the GCF General Assembly on November 11 in St Kitts and Nevis.

Contact the writer of this story at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

June 15 - Hambantota is confident of winning its bid to host the Commonwealth Games, Sri Lanka Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage (pictured right) has claimed, at the same time shrugging off fears that financial problems connected to this year's cricket World Cup could affect its campaign.

The race to host the event in 2018 is entering a critical period with an Evaluation Commission from the Commonwealth Games Federation (GCF) due to begin inspections next week of Hambantota and its only rival, the Gold Coast in Australia.

The Sri Lankan city is considered the outsider but Aluthgamage is hoping that history will repeat itself.

Kuala Lumpur won a vote with Adelaide to become the first Asian city to host the Games in 1998.

"In 1991, when Malaysia was competing, the difference between those two countries was the same like with us today," said Aluthgamage.

"There is no difference.

"Nobody thought that Australia would lose, but Malaysia won."

Sri Lanka's Government are planning to spend up to $4 billion (£2.5 billion) on new facilities and infrastructure if their bid is successful, they revealed today.

Not all of this will be connected to the games, but will be on ports, sports stadiums and other basic infrastructure developments," said Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the co-chairman of Hambantota 2018 and Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Cabraal is also confident that Hambantota can beat the Gold Coast, who he claims are spending $9 million (£5.5 million) on their bid.

"Members of the Commonwealth present at the bid presentation [in Kuala Lumpur last month] claimed they had underestimated the potential of Sri Lanka," he said.

"In the past 80 years, only a handful of countries had hosted the Games and therefore Sri Lanka, as a new contender, had a better chance."

Cabraal accepted that the Gold Coast would be a lower-risk option for the CGF but it would have would more impact if it were held in Hambantota.

The plans have already been shown to Mike Hooper, the chief executive of the CGF, who visited Sri Lanka earlier this year.


The CGF's Evaluation Commission, which is chaired by Scotland's Louise Martin, will visit the Gold Coast from June 20-23, before travelling to Hambantota from June 27-30, before providing a report in the lead-up to the CGF Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11, where the host city will be chosen.

"Everything is already in place Australia; they have the stadiums and all the required facilities," said Cabraal.

"But in Sri Lanka we have much more to do.

"It's going to be a huge investment in the country.

"We have a good chance.

"If Malaysia was able to do it at that time, we can do it, too.

"I think that will be reflected in the minds of many countries when they go to vote.

"So we believe that Commonwealth nations will also back Sri Lanka at the voting and we will surprise the world."

Hambantota's campaign to host the Commonwealth Games has coincided with Sri Lanka Cricket calling on the country's Government to help it meet the $69 million (£43 million) bill it spent on co-hosting the 2011 World Cup.

Part of the cost was incurred building the the Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapakse International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota, which is due to host archery if the Commonwealth Games are awarded to Hambantota.

"Sri Lanka Cricket ran out of funds after hosting the World Cup and sought Government help to settle some payments," said Aluthgamage.

Sri Lanka, which lost the final to India by six wickets, hosted 12 matches during the World Cup, with others held in India and Bangladesh.

"In total, we spent about five billion rupees ($46 million) to build the three World Cup venues," Aluthgamage said.

"It's not a crisis situation yet.

"We are confident [the problem will be solved]."

Contact the writer of this story at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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."

Contact the writer of this story at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

Contact the writer of this story at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

Contact the writer of this story at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T&T OLYMPIC TEAM PARTNERS

Cartan Global         Michael Johnson Performance