07 November 2011 – A 60-strong Sri Lankan delegation has arrived in the Caribbean to learn if the country has been successful in its ‘life-changing’ bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The decision will be made at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) general assembly in St Kitts and Nevis. The conference begins today, with the crucial vote from the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories taking place on Friday 11 November.
Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chairman and Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, will be joined by fellow Co-Chair, Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage. Alongside them will be Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, son of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Member of Parliament for Hambantota District.
Their integral role in leading the bid has been cited by commentators as a sign of tremendous and high-ranking political support right from the very top. It is matched by overwhelming public support, with 87 percent of the Sri Lankan population backing the bid; in Hambantota itself this rises to 99 percent. The figures are no surprise given what a Hambantota Games will mean for the unified country and its proud population, according to Governor Cabraal.
“A Hambantota 2018 Games will secure long-term social and economic benefits and drive sustainable development throughout our unified nation,” he says. “It will make such a difference to the lives of young people in Sri Lanka and deliver a legacy with huge benefits for future generations. But it will also be life-changing for our friends throughout the Commonwealth.”
Cabraal alludes to the wider benefits in bringing the Games to Sri Lanka, as cited in the CGF Evaluation Commission’s 144-page report. It concludes 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.
“We want to share our enthusiasm for these Games and show that other countries can get involved,” says Cabraal. “The Hambantota 2018 bid will also give huge encouragement to the other 61 nations that have never hosted the Games and may wish to do so.”
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 only the 10th country to host the Games in its 80 year history.
Hon. Minister Aluthgamage, adds: “It is not only large and advanced economies that should be considered as host cities of major events. A key ambition of our bid is to inspire other island, developing and emerging nations – and their people – throughout the Commonwealth.”
Other members of the Sri Lankan delegation include Mr Hemasiri Fernando, President of the Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee; Mr Udaya Seneviratne, Secretary to the Sports Ministry; and Muttiah Muralitharan, the most successful bowler in the history of Test cricket.
For more information on Hambantota 2018 visit: www.hambantota2018.com
Notes to editors
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.’
The Hambantota 2018 emblem and strapline are available on request as jpeg and/or eps files.
For further information on Hambantota 2018 visit www.hambantota2018.com
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