Aug 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka this week is hosting an African Commonwealth games delegation who will be in the country to evaluate the Hambanthota’s bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The African delegation’s visit is the second in a series of regional ‘inward missions’ by Commonwealth members ahead of the vote to decide the host city.
Sri Lanka last month welcomed the Caribbean Commonwealth Games delegates who praised the ‘island jewel of the Indian ocean’
Sri Lanka is vying to become the 10th country to host the Games in its 80-year history. Australia’s Gold Coast is Sri Lanka’s only other bid competitor.
The organizers of the Hambanthota 2018 bid, which has been called as a ‘life changing bid’ for Sri Lanka that is emerging from a decades-long war and a deadly tsunami, hopes the bid will get a boost from the 19-nations African delegation that will find common ground in its ambitions of hosting major sports events.
Earlier this year Sri Lanka lodged the Hambantota bid under the theme ‘Enhancing Lives and Transforming a Nation’ outlining how the country will benefit from becoming a host city under four inter-related legacy themes sport, society, the environment and economy.
According to Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chairman and Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the Games would secure long-term and sustainable social and economic benefits for Sri Lanka.
“Africa shares our vision for life-changing sport. Sport can be transformational, especially for children and young people. And a prudent approach to bidding for and hosting major events can be the catalyst for sustainable social and economic development. We think there are clear synergies in how we are harnessing the power of sport to build a better tomorrow for our people,” he has said.
Hambanthota 2018 is to welcome inward missions from Europe and Oceania next month before that from Asia in October.
Sri Lanka now hopes Africa’s 19 Commonwealth nations may make the Hambanthota bid a reality when the members of Commonwealth vote to elect the host city at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) general assembly in St Kitts Nevis on 11 November 2011.