Hambantota makes crucial pitch for Commonwealth Games today in KL

Wednesday, 11 May 2011 00:13 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka candidate City of Hambantota will today make a crucial pitch for its bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The pitch or the bid lodgment by the candidate cities is a vital step in their hopes of securing the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Apart from Hambantota, Australia’s Gold Coast is the other contender.

Sri Lanka’s official bid book was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week. The same Bid Book will be officially handed over today when Commonwealth Games Federation meets.

Representatives from Sri Lanka are to make a 20-minute presentation at the formal lodgement ceremony in Kuala Lumpur. Australia will also get a similar duration.

Sri Lanka is fielding a large contingent including athletes, sports and games officials as well as supporting business leaders to reinforce the message that everyone in Sri Lanka is behind the bid.

Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chair Nivard Cabraal who is also the Central Bank Governor told the Daily FT prior to his departure Malaysia how Sri Lanka presents its bid today will be critical.

He acknowledged that such a presentation within 20 minutes was a challenging task but the Lankan contingent had rehearsed the process many a time before taking off to Malaysia.

“We will show why we want to host and how we will host it with clear deliverables. Our presentation will be innovative and insightful. We are confident of putting our best effort,” Cabraal added.

He will make a quick opening presentation on Sri Lanka’s bid whilst 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia silver medalist hurdler Sriyani Kulawansa regarded as an excellent sports ambassador too will make a presentation.

The 20 minutes of Sri Lanka’s pitch would also include a quick but effective flavour of the hospitality that the Games participants will get if Hambantota is selected.

The central themes of Sri Lanka’s presentation expected to be by hosting the 2018 Games, Sri Lanka will inspire others, i.e. fellow smaller Commonwealth Nations, and communicate that a rich legacy is at the heart of Lankan bid which will enhance the CGF brand. Sri Lanka will be projected as secure, safe country that offers best of both worlds diversity, beauty and charm. The candidate city will be showcased as a sustainable and eco-friendly and green city as well as the new venue for world sports.

Following the lodgement today the Commonwealth Games Evaluation Commission will visit the venue and produce a detailed report which will be circulated to all Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) and made public.

The CGAs then have the opportunity to visit each candidate city once to view facilities, venues and receive presentations from the bid committee, the CGF says.

The eventual voting to select the host city will be during the CGF General Assembly, consisting of representatives of all 71 member nations and  territories, in St. Kitts & Nevis in November 2011.

Cabraal also acknowledged spontaneous and magnanimous private sector support for the pre-bid process. “Apart from the initial cost, the rest is entirely funded by the private sector who rose to the occasion,” he added.

Kulawansa is among the four Commonwealth Games medalists who have been included in the Hambantota 2018 Athletes’ Commission. Working alongside the Bid Committee, they have been putting the needs and aspirations of all athletes at the heart of the nation’s planning to host its first Commonwealth Games. The other three are Pushpamali Ramanayake (Shooting), Commonwealth Games gold, Edinburgh 1994, Sugath Thilakaratne (400m), Commonwealth Games bronze, Kuala Lumpur 1998 and Chintana Vithanage (Weightlifting), Commonwealth Games gold, Melbourne 2006.