Only two bids have been submitted to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018. When the March 31 deadline passed applications were received from an already publicized Australian Gold Coast bid and surprisingly from the city of Hambantota in Sri Lanka.
No bid was received from Abuja, Nigeria as that nation’s sports leadership plunged into political turmoil recently. Abuja lost a 2014 bid to Glasgow, Scotland and vowed to pursue the 2018 Games. Auckland, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago were also recently considering bids but both withdrew due to financial considerations.
The two bids will now prepare campaigns that will end at an election at the Commonwealth Games Federation Assembly of 71 nations in St Kitts and Nevis in October, 2011.
Hambantota is located on the south coast of Sri Lanka and lies in a district with a mostly rural population of just over 500,000 people. Currently, the town is building an USD $8 million, 25,000 seat cricket stadium as a 2011 Cricket World Cup host.
“It is most pleasing to have two cities from different regions of the Commonwealth vying for the right to host the 2018 Games,” Commonwealth Games Federation Mike Fennell said.
“We have India hosting the Games for the first time in 2010, Glasgow already selected for the 2014 Games as a European host, and now we know we will be in either the Oceania or Asia region for the 2018 edition.
“Each city has recognized the enormous benefits that flow from hosting a Commonwealth Games. A successful bid provides an opportunity to provide a legacy for future generations.
“I am confident that each city will put forward a strong case for selection.
“The Commonwealth Games Federation thanks both the Gold Coast and Hambantota for their interest and commitment, and we certainly wish them the best as they try to win the prize of hosting the 21st Commonwealth Games.”
For 2014 three bids were received – Abuja, Glasgow and a bid from Halifax, Canada that withdrew mid-campaign due to funding issues. The organization of the 2010 Games in Delhi, India has been a struggle and this, in part, may have caused reduced interest in bidding for the 2018 Games.