Momentum behind Hambantota 2018 bid
With just one month left for the vote to decide who will host the
2018 Commonwealth Games, the momentum is behind Sri Lanka's Hambantota
2018 bid. The decision will be made at the Commonwealth Games Federation
(CGF) general assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on 11 November.
As the race reaches its final stages, '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.
Having been considered by some as a rank outsider against Australia's
Gold Coast a year ago, the tear-drop shaped nation has since turned the
tables. It has impressed many with the calibre of its 'life-changing'
bid, so dubbed because of the myriad benefits it promises the unified
nation and its proud population. Praised by the CGF Evaluation
Commission for being 'visionary, exciting and unique' and meeting every
single technical requirement, it has since wowed delegations from the
Caribbean & Americas, Africa, Europe, Oceania and Asia.
2018 Organizing Committee Co-Chairman and Governor of the Central
Bank of Sri Lanka Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hambantota said "like the
athletes, we look forward to welcoming to our unified nation and
state-of-the-art competition and training venues in 2018, we have looked
to peak at the right time. We know the importance of timing; both ahead
of this life-changing vote and beyond.
"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. 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.
That's what our Hambantota 2018 bid is all about." The CGF Evaluation
Commission's 144-page report cites huge benefits in bringing the event
to Sri Lanka. It adds 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. 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 a list that would have added three 'new' hosts in two decades.