The Co-Chair of Sri Lanka’s bid to host its first Commonwealth Games has arrived in London to showcase Hambantota 2018 at the SportAccord International Convention.
Ajith Nivard Cabraal, also Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, is leading a delegation to the key fixture in the global sporting calendar. More than 1,500 influential figures from international sport are gathered in the English capital until 8 April under the theme ‘Why Sport Matters’. Governor Cabraal himself sees sport as a catalyst for sustainable social and economic development and hopes to secure such benefits for the tear drop shaped nation.
He said: “Sport can be life-changing and transformational. Its benefits reach beyond the track and field into the home, classroom and boardroom. Education, health, infrastructure, tourism, culture, the economy and environment are all pillars of a legacy underpinning our bid. It’s a legacy that will reach throughout our unified nation and across South Asia. And it will be an inspiration to other emerging and developing nations and their people.”
Sri Lanka is continuing its rapid development following the end of internal conflict and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami; Hambantota is the fast-developing coastal city in the South coast region worst hit. Major infrastructure upgrades are already taking place in the ‘new City’ including a sea port and second international airport; a high capacity public transport system and new road network are in the pipeline. Work has also begun on the state-of-the-art Hambantota 2018 ‘Sports City’ which will feature 90 percent of the venues and facilities for the 2018 Games. And a new seven-year National Sports Plan sets out to create a pyramid of sporting opportunity.
Governor Cabraal’s visit follows Sri Lanka’s key role in the success of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. The co-hosts staged nine matches – including two in Hambantota itself – and reached a thrilling final on Saturday, losing to India. The tournament showcased the nation’s passion for sport with its organisation, infrastructure, venues and fans receiving plaudits throughout.
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
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.’