Representatives from Oceania countries are supporting Hambantota 2018’s bid for the Commonwealth Games following a visit to Sri Lanka last week.
Graham Osborne, a representatives from Papua New Guinea, said of Hambantota’s bid, “I think you will end up getting a few more votes than you think you might get”.
There were reports last July that Oceania representatives agreed in October 2010 to vote as a block for Australia’s Gold Coast, Hambantota’s competitor for the 2018 Games.
Niko Palamo of Samoa said, “coming here has changed what we know about Sri Lanka and what we hear about Sri Lanka. A lot of the developing countries have already hosted the Games three or four times. And so for hosting (the Games) to them is another event. But it’s like Sri Lanka is representing the other 60 developing countries who haven’t hosted the Games so far”.
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Vice President Bruce Farara, a member of the delegation, added, “they are two very different bids; here the concept around the sports village is an excellent concept, it’s not yet built but it will be by 2016 (two years ahead of the Games). It’s a very competitive bid. It has its own assets and strengths. It’s going to be a very interesting competition between Australia and Sri Lanka”.
A 144-page report on the two bid cities by the CGF Evaluation Commission describes Hambantota 2018 as one of “the most compact Commonwealth Games concept designs every developed.” The bid is unique in that all but three of the competition venues are in a single cluster, “the Games Park” which will house the Games Village and training venues for most sports.
It means that the majority of athletes will travel no more than one km from the Games Village to their respective competition or training venues.
In 2018 the cluster will also be just 13km from the new Hambantota International Airport and will be served by a new road and rail network.