November 24 – The Gold Coast are set to stage their first major sporting competition since winning the right to stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games earlier this month with the HSBC Sevens World Series set to get underway in the city.

The Australian city saw off sole rivals Hambantota of Sri Lanka to stage the Commonwealth Games and it will get the chance to show the world exactly what is in store in 2018 with the inaugural Gold Coast Sevens which takes place tomorrow and Saturday (November 26).

The competition will take place at the 27,400 capacity Skilled Park, the home ground to the National Rugby League's Gold Coast Titans, and the world's top rugby sevens players have praised the both the stadium and the city as a world class sporting destination.

"To start the Series in the Gold Coast, it is a bit of a paradise here, so we are all really excited about it and playing in a great stadium, the home of the Gold Coast Titans," said New Zealand captain DJ Forbes.

"Pressure is always on New Zealand, and there might be more with being defending champions, but we never go into a Series defending a title, we just go out like all the others to win it."

England captain Greg Barden added: "Looking around, its 30 degrees already, beautiful sunshine and no better place to start the Series."

New Zealand and England will be two of the favourites for victory in the Gold Coast along with hosts Australia, who are one of a number of countries who have started investing far more in the sport since it became an Olympic sport, set to feature at Rio 2016.

"The home crowd will help us out a lot," said Australia captain Ed Jenkins.

"It is almost like playing with an extra man if the crowd can get up and make a lot of noise for us and I think it will be really beneficial."

A total of 16 teams will participate in the competition which could provide an indication of what the rugby sevens competition will look like at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Men's rugby sevens has featured at every Commonwealth Games since Kuala Lumpur 1998 and is now a compulsory sport at the competition while women's rugby sevens could make its debut on the Gold Coast after the sport was voted onto the sports programme as optional sports earlier this month.

By Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

altNovember 17 - Hambantota has blamed the chaos of last year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the intervention of Canada for its failure to win its bid to host the 2018 edition of the event, as the campaign's leaders Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Mahindananda Aluthgamage both complained that they suffered from a bias against smaller countries hosting the event.

The Sri Lankan city were beaten 43-27 by its only rival, the Gold Coast, at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis last Friday (November 11).

Upon his return to the capital Colombo, the co-chairman of Hambantoa 2018, Cabraal (pictured above right), claimed that their bid was scuppered by a late intervention from Commonwealth Games Canada.

"At the last minute Canada brought a proposal that India did not conduct the [2010] Games well and that some payments have not been made yet," said Cabraal.

"No doubt this was countered, but it created uncertainty among the members."

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been the most fierce critic of Sri Lankan's human rights record and at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth last month had threatened to oppose Hambantota's bid unless they addressed the issue seriously.

Canada's opposition both in Perth and St Kitts damaged Hambantota's chances, Cabraal claimed.

 "As a result I think that may have hurt our chances to a some extent, although we know that one of the most successful Games was conducted in India," said Cabraal, the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

"This lobby appeared to be designed to give some kind of a feeling that Asian countries are unable to have very good Games.

"That also may have gone against us to some extent."

Aluthgamage (pictured above left), the Sports Minister who was the other co-chairman of the bid, also criticised the bidding process.

"There is an injustice and we saw that small countries do not get a chance to hold these Games," he said.

But, despite Sri Lanka losing the bid, the process helped to improve Sri Lanka's image and boosted the tourism industry, Aluthgamage admitted.

It also provided an opportunity to draw attention to Hambantatoa, which is being developed as the country's second economic city, he said.

Cabraal insisted that they have not yet given any thought about whether to launch a bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games but they would push ahead with their ambitious plans to turn Hambantota into a major sporting hub.

"We have not thought of bidding for the 2022 Games but our plan on making Hambantota a sports city will go ahead as planned despite the loss," he said.

 

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

altNovember 5 - Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has admitted that the vote next week to decide whether the Gold Coast or Hambantota hosts the 2018 Commonwealth Games is on a knife-edge.

Bligh will lead the Australian delegation to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis, where 71 countries will vote.

The Gold Coast have been the favourites since started last year but Hambantota have run an impressive campaign.

''We're at the nail-biting end of this bid and it's a very nerve-racking time,'' said Bligh.

''I'm confident that what the Gold Coast will offer the Commonwealth Games is a world-class bid and a world-class sporting event.

''But you always go into these votes knowing that you can win or lose them, so we'll be putting every effort next week into every single voting delegate.''

The full Gold Coast team are due to arrive in the Caribbean on Tuesday (November 8).

''A successful Coast Commonwealth Games tilt could only further boost our reputation as the world's pre-eminent year-round elite training location and reinforce our tourism reputation,'' said Bligh.

"We know that Queenslanders got behind the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

"I know that if we're successful this week, they'll get behind the 2018 Commonwealth Games on our beautiful Gold Coast."

By Duncan Mackay

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

altMEDIA RELEASE

09 November 2011 – The team behind Sri Lanka’s Hambantota 2018 bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games has brought its own blend of island charm and carnival to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) summit on the Caribbean island of St Kitts.   

With just two days until the vote to decide whether Hambantota or Australia’s Gold Coast is to host the 2018 Games, Sri Lanka is preparing to make what could be a crucial final presentation.  But among the hard work that has seen the bid go from outsider to real contender, a 60-strong delegation has been equally determined to showcase the vibrant atmosphere that awaits athletes and fans alike in 2018 should what has been dubbed ‘the life-changing bid’ be successful.

Speaking last night as he welcomed CGF delegates to a gala dinner featuring traditional Sri Lankan music and dancing, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chairman, said: “We want to show that as well as delivering a visionary, exciting, unique and technically strong bid, a successful Commonwealth Games in Hambantota will also be great fun.

“In Sri Lanka we know how to party.  We will ensure, if selected as the host city for the 2018 Games, that our opening and closing ceremonies capture all of this excitement and tradition in a way that highlights the diversity of our culture and embraces the vitality of our society.  We have spoken of the Games being a life-changing experience for our unified nation and people.  But it also promises to be a once in a lifetime experience for all we look forward to welcoming in 2018.”

Cabraal, also Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, also hosted beach barbeques for delegates and the Commonwealth family with traditional dance displays, drummers and acrobats.  He said he wants to encourage a celebratory, ‘festival mood’ ahead of the vote on Friday.

“Athletes and visitors coming to Sri Lanka will experience not only state of the art venues and facilities but also a colourful carnival atmosphere they will always remember,” he added.  “Sri Lanka’s ancient civilisation has endowed the country with a legacy of colourful festivals.  Our people are famous for their smiles and we want everyone to share our joy in hosting the Games in 2018.  We look forward to welcoming our friends to Hambantota in our own special way.”

Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, son of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Member of Parliament for Hambantota District, meanwhile welcomed guests to Hambantota’s hospitality suite.  The centrepiece of the room is a scale model of the ‘Sports City’ that will house 90 percent of the venues.  The CGF calls it one of the most compact Commonwealth Games concept designs ever developed.  

Praised by the CGF Evaluation Commission for being ‘visionary, exciting and unique’ and meeting every single technical requirement, the Hambantota 2018 bid has wowed delegations from the Caribbean & Americas, Africa, Europe, Oceania and Asia. With the result of its endeavours looming, the momentum is now behind a bid backed by an overwhelming 87 percent of the Sri Lankan population (99 percent in Hambantota itself).

The decision will be announced by outgoing CGF President Mike Fennell on the penultimate day of the CGF general assembly in St Kitts & Nevis this Friday 11 November at 18:00 local time.  It will be his last official act as CGF President after 17 years in the role, before handing over to HRH Prince Tunku Imran.  For more information on Hambantota 2018 visit: www.hambantota2018.com

-ENDS-

altOctober 31 - Hambantota has a compelling argument to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the leader of its only rival, the Gold Coast, has admitted.  

With only 11 days to go until the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly vote in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 on which city should host the Games the race is becoming increasingly competitive.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (pictured) allegedly broke an agreement he had with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard not to promote Hambantota's bid at a special breakfast organised by the CGF during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth last Saturday (October 29).

She made only a brief mention of the Gold Coast as having put in a bid, saying Australia would host an ''outstanding Games''.

But Rajapaksa used his 10-minute speech to make a concerted pitch for votes.

Gillard, in turn, has angred the Sri Lankans by questioning the country's human rights record following allegations that they committed atrocities against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) following their final push that defeated the separatists in 2009 following the 26-year-long civil war in the country.

Mark Stockwell, the chairman of Gold Coast 2018, acknowledged that Rajapaksa embodies the determination shared by everyone associated with Hambantota to pull off what less than a year ago would have seemed an unlikely triumph.

He fears that Hambantota's bid could benefit from the support of many of the emerging nations who make up the 72-member CGF.  

"That speech [on Saturday] by Sri Lanka's President should be enough to rock the boat of any Australian," he told Australian Associated Press (AAP).

"This would be the biggest event this country will host in the next eight to 10 years and I think all Australians should be behind it.

"But Sri Lanka is looking at it as a nation building exercise.

"We want a good sporting event, a good party, good celebration and let's get the city moving, but Sri Lanka is saying this is the focus that could change their country.

"That's a pretty compelling argument to a lot of the developing nations who have a vote."

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says the Games would help boost the Gold Coast's economy and take the city to a new level, as they did for Brisbane in 1982.

"But the most exciting thing is the mood, the vibe, that the Games will bring," she told AAP.

"An international event like this brings a massive buzz as the city transforms itself."

 

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

altMEDIA RELEASE

07 November 2011 – A 60-strong Sri Lankan delegation has arrived in the Caribbean to learn if the country has been successful in its ‘life-changing’ bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The decision will be made at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) general assembly in St Kitts and Nevis.  The conference begins today, with the crucial vote from the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories taking place on Friday 11 November.    

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chairman and Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, will be joined by fellow Co-Chair, Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage.  Alongside them will be Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, son of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Member of Parliament for Hambantota District.

Their integral role in leading the bid has been cited by commentators as a sign of tremendous and high-ranking political support right from the very top.  It is matched by overwhelming public support, with 87 percent of the Sri Lankan population backing the bid; in Hambantota itself this rises to 99 percent.  The figures are no surprise given what a Hambantota Games will mean for the unified country and its proud population, according to Governor Cabraal.

“A Hambantota 2018 Games will secure long-term social and economic benefits and drive sustainable development throughout our unified nation,” he says.  “It will make such a difference to the lives of young people in Sri Lanka and deliver a legacy with huge benefits for future generations.  But it will also be life-changing for our friends throughout the Commonwealth.”

Cabraal alludes to the wider benefits in bringing the Games to Sri Lanka, as cited in the CGF Evaluation Commission’s 144-page report.  It concludes that the Hambantota bid could provide a blueprint for future Commonwealth Games and for the other 61 Commonwealth nations that have never hosted the Games to follow.

“We want to share our enthusiasm for these Games and show that other countries can get involved,” says Cabraal.  “The Hambantota 2018 bid will also give huge encouragement to the other 61 nations that have never hosted the Games and may wish to do so.”

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 only the 10th country to host the Games in its 80 year history.

Hon. Minister Aluthgamage, adds: “It is not only large and advanced economies that should be considered as host cities of major events.  A key ambition of our bid is to inspire other island, developing and emerging nations – and their people – throughout the Commonwealth.”

Other members of the Sri Lankan delegation include Mr Hemasiri Fernando, President of the Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee; Mr Udaya Seneviratne, Secretary to the Sports Ministry; and Muttiah Muralitharan, the most successful bowler in the history of Test cricket.

For more information on Hambantota 2018 visit: www.hambantota2018.com

-ENDS-

Notes to editors


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

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