The Commonwealth Games Federation Evaluation Commission has completed its four-day visit to Sri Lanka, declaring Hambantota a strong candidate for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Evaluation Commission chairman, Louise Martin from Scotland, said her five member panel had been impressed with the vision held by local authorities to host the 2018 Games.
The Commission – which also includes Mr Gideon Sam, President South Africa Sports Confederation and National Olympic Committee, Mr Erskine Simmons, Secretary General Barbados Olympic Committee, Mr Andrew Ryan, Executive Director, ASOIF, and Mr Mike Hooper, CGF CEO – held high-level discussions with representatives of national, district and local governments and senior representatives of the bid team during its visit.
The Commission’s visit to Sri Lanka follows time spent on the Gold Coast in Australia last week, the other 2018 Commonwealth Games candidature city.
“Overall, the proposal of staging the Commonwealth Games in Hambantota is an exciting one and, given the development of the relevant infrastructure, will provide a unique Games experience for the athletes and other Games client groups,” Mrs Martin said.
“We have been impressed with the vision for Sri Lanka and Hambantota and now have a clear view of where the hosting of the Commonwealth Games could fit within that vision.
“The leadership shown by the national and district governments is impressive. The alignment of agencies around the national, regional and Games vision is equally impressive.
“As you would expect more than seven years out, and with considerable additional work to be done in forming the final Games plan, there are some matters which simply cannot be, or do not need to be, known at this stage.
“That said, the foundations for a great Games are laid in the plans which are now being locked down by the governments, the bid team and the Sri Lankan Commonwealth Games Association.”
Mrs Martin said that it had been a fruitful visit to the country, with the day in Hambantota providing great insight to that region’s aspirations.
“We met the Hambantota people and those who are already doing the work necessary to build this city and region and we noted substantial progress and have no doubt about the resolve to deliver the necessary infrastructure by 2016.
“It is clear that in meeting the requirements for the 2018 Commonwealth Games important legacies can be generated for the region and, indeed the country.
The Commission will release its report on the two bid cities by October 11th a month before the vote at the Federation’s General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11.