By Hishan Welmilla
The formal lodgment of bids by the candidate cities, for the 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place on 11th May 2011 in Malaysia.
A special statement issued by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) stated that “The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) will hold a series of meetings in Kuala Lumpur this week (May 6 to 11), the highlight being the formal lodgment of bids by 2018 candidate cities, Gold Coast (Australia) and Hambantota (Sri Lanka).
Representatives from both the Gold Coast and Hambantota will be in Kuala Lumpur to make a 20-minute presentation at the formal Lodgement Ceremony at the city’s Le Meridien Hotel. The race to win hosting rights for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 may have started as a story about one city, the Gold Coast. When Hambantota was announced as a rival for the sporting event at the 11th hour, most people in southeast Queensland could not pronounce the name, let alone find it on a map.
But the Sri Lankan government has continued to maintain its push for the southern coastal city to host the event despite rumours, debate and opinions to the contrary. As the days and months went on, the rest of the world started to think it may be true, too.
The Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium was built in Hambantota and everyone got a sneak-peek of the city and how it was transforming. The two World Cup matches staged there in March went off almost without hitch and the cricket ground was talked up internationally.
News of the massive port and international airport being built nearby was also released and finally all became clear. Not only is Hambantota a legitimate bidder, it actually has a chance of winning according to a report published by the “Gold Coast Bulletin”.
A flying visit by the son of Sri Lanka’s president took some of the shine off the Gold Coast’s pitch for the 2018 Commonwealth Games to European delegates during the last week of April and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bid CEO Mark Peters said he was surprised to see Namal Rajapaksa turn up at the Isle of Man to present at the European Commonwealth Games Association’s meeting the report added.
CEO Mark Peters pushed how passionate Australia is about the Games, Rajapaksa in his turn, highlighted how the games would be crucial for the country’s recovery after the war.
CGF’s Sport Committee met on May 6 and 7. The Sports Committee’s prime focus was on the Sports Programme Review (SPR) that follows every Commonwealth Games, looking at all aspects of the sports programme and considering submissions from member countries, International Federations and broadcasters.
The CGF Executive Board will receive a detailed report from the Sports Committee, as well as from the organising committees of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games, which take place on the Isle of Man in September.
There will also be a drawing of lots, conducted by CGF Vice President Imran, to determine the order of presentation by the cities to the CGF General Assembly on decision day, November 11, in St Kitts and Nevis.