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Sri Lanka bids to host 2018 Commonwealth Games

Article - September 15, 2011
A world-class sporting event held on an island paradise: a winning combination?

Sri Lanka’s bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Hambantota is a heart-felt expression of the country’s aspirations, and also a spectacular endorsement of its recent progress. The island is determined to present an impressive international sporting event that will raise Sri Lanka’s status within the world community, and change its people’s lives for the better.

The bid is not the stuff of fantasy: Sri Lanka is already due to host the 2016 South Asian Games, and the government is confident that the country’s rapidly-improving infrastucture has the capacity to deal with the event. Furthermore, Sri Lanka has a worldwide reputation as a truly beautiful location, and its population is known for its generous hospitality. So visitors will get to experience the Games while enjoying a visit to a paradise island.

Hosting the Games requires a formidable commitment of energy and resources, and the government has not under-estimated the size of the challenge. Already, state-of-the-art venues and training facilities accommodating 17 different sports are well under way to completion in Hambantota, as are refurbishment and expansion developments at its port, and the international Airport in Mattala. All competition arenas are due for completion in 2016, allowing for sufficient quality test periods.

The vision for the bid is ultimately to enhance the Commonwealth bond by hosting a safe, secure, and inclusive event. If chosen, Sri Lanka would serve as an inspiration to other nations, demonstrating its spirit and strength in the face of adversity, as a country has rebuilt itself after 26 years of internal conflict, and a devastating tsunami in 2004.

The Games also have the potential to further heal ethnic divisions in Sri Lanka. Its leaders want to emulate the feel-good factor produced in South Africa, when that nation – which had only just rid itself of apartheid – hosted and won the 1995 Rugby World Cup. It is also hoped that the Games will inspire the younger generation with home-grown role models. Several youth programs are central to the country’s bid, and the planned Sports City will provide sports education, sports tourism, warm weather training camps and the hosting of local, national and international events for decades to come.

The logo for Sri Lanka’s Commonwealth bid reflects the character of the country’s proposal, consisting of eight pairs of hands in each of the Commonwealth Games Federation colours, with the tag line “Together From the Heart.”

Sri Lanka’s bid does indeed come from the heart of a people that wishes to move forward, and come together with other nations of the world.