Sri Lanka confident of securing bid for 2018 Commonwealth Games

October 12th, 2011 - 5:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Oct 12 (IANS) With one month to go before the host city is selected, Sri Lanka Wednesday said it was confident of winning the bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The co-chair of the bidding committee of the games in Sri Lanka Ajith Nivard Cabraal said the Sri Lankan southern city of Hambantota has enough time to be ready to host the Games in 2018 if it is selected next month by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

Sri Lanka is vying with Gold Coast in Australia to host the games and the winning bid will be announced at the CGF general assembly in St Kitts and Nevis Nov 11, Xinhua reported.

“The ‘island jewel of the Indian Ocean’ is finding growing support for its ambition to host the Games for the first time and, in so doing, become only the 10th country to host the Games in its 80-year history,” The Sri Lankan bidding team said.

The Sri Lankan team also quoted a 144-page report of the CGF Evaluation Commission as stating that the Hambantota bid could provide a blueprint for future Games and for the other 61 Commonwealth members that have never hosted the mega event.

“The fact that there is a seven-year lag (between the vote and hosting the Games) tells me that the CGF wants people to get ready for the Games, providing the opportunity for new countries to emerge,” said Cabraal, who is also the governor of the Sri Lankan central bank.

“I believe strongly that the whole experience hinges not on being event-ready but on getting ready over seven years.

“There are enormous opportunities for young people to train, for businesses to grow, for venues to be constructed and for legacies to be planned. The Games should aspire to deliver these,” he said. “That is what our Hambantota 2018 bid is all about.”

Sri Lanka says having been considered by some as a rank outsider against Gold Coast a year ago, the island has since been able to turn the tables and impress many including the Commonwealth Games Evaluation Commission for being “visionary, exciting and unique” and meeting every single technical requirement.

Commonwealth delegations from the Caribbean, Americas, Africa, Europe, Oceania and Asia have visited Hambantota over the past several weeks to inspect the bid.

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