altMay 8 - Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive Mike Hooper has praised the contribution of Mark Stockwell in helping the Gold Coast win the right to stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games but said that the hugely controversial decision to fire him is fully down to the relevant bodies in Australia.

Stockwell (pictured above, left), a former swimmer who won three medals at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, played a huge role in helping the Queensland city secure the international, multisport event as chairman of the bid team that defeated sole rivals Hambantota of Sri Lanka by 43 votes to 27 at the CGF General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis.

The 48-year-old was unsurprisingly confirmed as chairman of Gold Coast 2018 by former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), who was known to be close to Stockwell.

But Bligh was ousted from office in March after she was crushed in the State elections by Campbell Newman, the new Queensland Premier, of the Liberal National Party (LNP).

Newman appointed Jann Stuckey as the Commonwealth Games Minister and it was left to Stuckey to confirm that Stockwell had been sacked as she claimed that it was time to "transition to a Board that has the confidence of the Government, the [Australia] Commonwealth Games Association, and the public".

It is widely believed that Stockwell had been sacked due to the fact that he was appointed by Bligh (pictured below, second left) but while the CGF chief executive refused to comment on the speculation, he praised Stockwell and admitted that the organisation respects the decision that has been made.

alt
"The decision to appoint a board for the 2018 Commonwealth Games is a matter for the Queensland Government and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) and we respect that," Hooper (pictured top, right with Stockwell) told insidethegames.

"Mark obviously made a great contribution to the Gold Coast, to Queensland and to Australia in leading their successful bid team and he deserves full credit for that.

"We wish Mark well for the future and we look forward to meeting with the new Government and the new Board when the CGF President [Prince Tunku Imran] and I visit the Gold Coast for an update on preparations in June."

The new board will be set up this week with Nigel Chamier, a Brisbane businessman who, like Stockwell, is a property developer, set to be named as the new chairman after backing from the ACGA.

ACGA chairman Sam Coffa (pictured above, first left), who helped appoint Stockwell as chairman, has publically denied that his organisation wanted to see Stockwell go, while Premier Newman refused to shed any light on the issue, simply saying that it was "now time to go to the second stage of this, which is to deliver the Games".

Stockwell reportedly clashed with the new Government over where to build the Athletes' Village for the Games.

He wanted to locate it in Parklands, an area of the city that includes pavilions, showgrounds and function areas but there was opposition to the plan from the Gold Coast Harness Racing Club, the Gold Coast Show Society and Big Day Out organisers, who wanted the village relocated.

 

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Tom Degun

altMay 6 - Mark Stockwell has been sacked as the chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 Organising Committee despite being the driving force behind the city's successful bid for the Commonwealth Games.

The new Liberal National Party (LNP) State Government, who won the election six weeks ago, confirmed the new Board would not include Stockwell, a former swimmer who won three medals at the 1984 Los Angeles, two silver and a bronze.

The 48-year-old Stockwell is now a successful property developer but he has reportedly clashed with the new Government over where to build the Athletes' Village for the Games.

He wanted to locate it Parklands, an area of the city that includes pavilions, showgrounds and function areas.

But there was opposition to the plan from the Gold Coast Harness Racing Club, the Gold Coast Show Society and Big Day Out organisers, who wanted the Village relocated.

New Commonwealth Games Minister Jann Stuckey now appears to have backed their concerns.

Announcing that Stockwell will be replaced she said it was time to "transition to a Board that has the confidence of the Government, the [Australia] Commonwealth Games Association, and the public".

Stuckey added: "To ensure that these Games are delivered on time, and importantly on budget, the LNP Newman Government needs to put in place a Board that will quickly get on with the major infrastructure planning and delivery of this billion-dollar event.

"What is needed now for the Gold Coast Games are well-credentialed people who have qualifications in law, finance, development, and the commercial sector along with prominent sporting people who can make a significant contribution in the building and operations of the Games.

"The composition of Commonwealth Games Board is crucial and the Government is working hard to strike the right balance."

altThere are widespread suspicions that Stockwell has been sacked because he was appointed by Labour's former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh (pictured in red with Stockwell), who has now been replaced by Campbell Newman.

The decision will alarm senior executives at the Commonwealth Games Federation and the new set-up will now be top of the agenda when President Prince Tunku Imran and chief executive Mike Hooper visit the Gold Coast next month for a progress update.

It means that none of the key members of the team that delivered the Gold Coast 2018 bid are involved in organising the Games with the city's Mayor Ron Clarke having stepped down to be replaced last month by Tom Tate, a local millionaire businessman

Stockwell refused to hit out at the decision to replace him.

"I respect people can change their views," he told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

"We have taken the Gold Coast around the world," he said.

"I am grateful to have had that opportunity.

"I am standing by to help in any way I can from here.

"This event can change people's lives and it can change cities."

 

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

December 21 - The Liberal National Party (LNP), the Opposition Party in Queensland, have called on Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's (pictured) to come clean about the cost of hosting the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games following a leaked report that suggests they have a $7 million (£4.5 million/€5.3 million) black hole.

The briefing note from within the Department of Premier and Cabinet has revealed that the Queensland Government, of which the Labour Party holds the majority, must pay more than $17 million (£11 million/€13 million) to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) this financial year but that only $10 million (£6.4/€7.7 million) has been set aside.

"This latest revelation shows that in fact the cost this year will be $7 million (£4.47 million/€5.34 million) more than we've been told," said the opposition treasury spokesman Tim Nicholls.

"Really the Government, if they want to ensure that people support the Commonwealth Games as they want and as we want to do, then they need to come clean and tell people where money's coming from and tell them up front how much it's going to cost.

"We now know why Treasurer Andrew Fraser argued against Anna Bligh about the Government's bid for the Commonwealth Games."

Queensland's acting Sport Minister Simon Finn claimed that the issue is being addressed and that a winning bid was always going to present some early costs.

"We've always known that there would some initial up-front costs in staging the Games," he said.

"There is no blow-out in the cost of the Games but obviously with the bid announced late in the year, we have to address the costs of this through the mid-year review."

Gold Coast 2018 chairman Mark Stockwell has also claimed that the Commonwealth Games will be delivered on time and on budget as promised in the bid.

"None of these things came out of the blue," said Stockwell.

"It is just the difference in bidding for the Games and actually hosting them."

Stockwell added that he was confident about delivering a "great event" within the $1 billion (£639 million/€746 million) budget set by the State Government.

The leaked document shows the Queensland Government must pay $47 million (£30 million/€36 million) to the ACGA over eight years for marketing rights for the 2018 Commonwealth Games with an initial first payment of $15 million (£9.5 million/€11.4 million) due by by January 1, 2012.

A further $17 million (£11 million/€13 million) is required by the CGF under the Host City contract provisions over seven years while a $2.3 million (£1.5 million/€1.8 million) down payment is due by February 1, 2012.

By Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

November 28 - Glasgow 2014 has hit the landmark 100th member of staff with the appointment of former top swimmer Todd Cooper as the Sport Competition Cluster Manager for the Commonwealth Games.

The 28-year-old Stirling University graduate, who joins from the national events agency EventScotland, already sits on Glasgow 2014's Athletes' Advisory Committee having competed at both the Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, winning a bronze in the latter competition as part of Scotland's 4x100 metres men's medley relay.

He was also part of Team GB at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics while he is one of four Sport Competition Cluster Managers to have been recruited by Glasgow 2014 in recent weeks.

He joins Alison Lunn, Mark Mateer and Keith Joss, who will all be responsible for the planning and organisation of a group of sports and will contribute to their successful delivery at Games-time.

Cooper will direct his focus to his native sport of aquatics as well as squash, table tennis and rugby sevens.

"As a former Commonwealth competitor, I am excited to have this opportunity to be at the heart of the preparations for the Games coming to Glasgow and to be the Organising Committee's 100th employee is an added honour," he said.

"I can't wait to get started in this role as part of the Sport team and play my part in creating a memorable Games for all of Scotland."

The milestone appointment comes as Glasgow 2014 continues to ramp up its recruitment campaign to fill 1,044 posts across a wide variety of roles between now and the Games via the services of Search Consultancy who look to identify the most appropriate candidates with the experience and skillset required to stage a world class Games.

"This is an exciting milestone for Glasgow 2014 and demonstrates the pace and scale of our recruitment," said Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg.

"Over the next two-and-a-half years we will increase our staff numbers to 1,044 and create a strong team with the mix of experience and skills we require to stage an outstanding Games and have a legacy of skills in Glasgow and Scotland.

"We are delighted to welcome Todd, a former Olympic and Commonwealth athlete, as our 100th employee and we look forward to his contribution to the team and the Games at large.

"Todd's experience as an athlete at previous Games will complement our team as we plan to deliver an athlete centred and sport focused Games."

Shona Robison, Scotland's Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, added: "As well as bringing an international sporting spectacle to Scotland, hosting the Commonwealth Games is a tremendous opportunity to create a lasting legacy through the creation of new jobs and boosting our economy.

"I'm delighted to see the 100th member of staff in place and I congratulate Todd on his appointment.

"The skills and experience he brings with him will ensure he makes a significant contribution to a successful Commonwealth Games.

"With less than 1,000 days to go until the big event this latest milestone shows the Organising Committee is continuing to oversee the successful delivery of the Games which remain on time, on budget and on track to be a fantastic event for all of Scotland."

By Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

November 24 – The Gold Coast are set to stage their first major sporting competition since winning the right to stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games earlier this month with the HSBC Sevens World Series set to get underway in the city.

The Australian city saw off sole rivals Hambantota of Sri Lanka to stage the Commonwealth Games and it will get the chance to show the world exactly what is in store in 2018 with the inaugural Gold Coast Sevens which takes place tomorrow and Saturday (November 26).

The competition will take place at the 27,400 capacity Skilled Park, the home ground to the National Rugby League's Gold Coast Titans, and the world's top rugby sevens players have praised the both the stadium and the city as a world class sporting destination.

"To start the Series in the Gold Coast, it is a bit of a paradise here, so we are all really excited about it and playing in a great stadium, the home of the Gold Coast Titans," said New Zealand captain DJ Forbes.

"Pressure is always on New Zealand, and there might be more with being defending champions, but we never go into a Series defending a title, we just go out like all the others to win it."

England captain Greg Barden added: "Looking around, its 30 degrees already, beautiful sunshine and no better place to start the Series."

New Zealand and England will be two of the favourites for victory in the Gold Coast along with hosts Australia, who are one of a number of countries who have started investing far more in the sport since it became an Olympic sport, set to feature at Rio 2016.

"The home crowd will help us out a lot," said Australia captain Ed Jenkins.

"It is almost like playing with an extra man if the crowd can get up and make a lot of noise for us and I think it will be really beneficial."

A total of 16 teams will participate in the competition which could provide an indication of what the rugby sevens competition will look like at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Men's rugby sevens has featured at every Commonwealth Games since Kuala Lumpur 1998 and is now a compulsory sport at the competition while women's rugby sevens could make its debut on the Gold Coast after the sport was voted onto the sports programme as optional sports earlier this month.

By Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

altNovember 17 - Hambantota has blamed the chaos of last year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the intervention of Canada for its failure to win its bid to host the 2018 edition of the event, as the campaign's leaders Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Mahindananda Aluthgamage both complained that they suffered from a bias against smaller countries hosting the event.

The Sri Lankan city were beaten 43-27 by its only rival, the Gold Coast, at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis last Friday (November 11).

Upon his return to the capital Colombo, the co-chairman of Hambantoa 2018, Cabraal (pictured above right), claimed that their bid was scuppered by a late intervention from Commonwealth Games Canada.

"At the last minute Canada brought a proposal that India did not conduct the [2010] Games well and that some payments have not been made yet," said Cabraal.

"No doubt this was countered, but it created uncertainty among the members."

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been the most fierce critic of Sri Lankan's human rights record and at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth last month had threatened to oppose Hambantota's bid unless they addressed the issue seriously.

Canada's opposition both in Perth and St Kitts damaged Hambantota's chances, Cabraal claimed.

 "As a result I think that may have hurt our chances to a some extent, although we know that one of the most successful Games was conducted in India," said Cabraal, the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

"This lobby appeared to be designed to give some kind of a feeling that Asian countries are unable to have very good Games.

"That also may have gone against us to some extent."

Aluthgamage (pictured above left), the Sports Minister who was the other co-chairman of the bid, also criticised the bidding process.

"There is an injustice and we saw that small countries do not get a chance to hold these Games," he said.

But, despite Sri Lanka losing the bid, the process helped to improve Sri Lanka's image and boosted the tourism industry, Aluthgamage admitted.

It also provided an opportunity to draw attention to Hambantatoa, which is being developed as the country's second economic city, he said.

Cabraal insisted that they have not yet given any thought about whether to launch a bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games but they would push ahead with their ambitious plans to turn Hambantota into a major sporting hub.

"We have not thought of bidding for the 2022 Games but our plan on making Hambantota a sports city will go ahead as planned despite the loss," he said.

 

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

altMEDIA RELEASE

09 November 2011 – The team behind Sri Lanka’s Hambantota 2018 bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games has brought its own blend of island charm and carnival to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) summit on the Caribbean island of St Kitts.   

With just two days until the vote to decide whether Hambantota or Australia’s Gold Coast is to host the 2018 Games, Sri Lanka is preparing to make what could be a crucial final presentation.  But among the hard work that has seen the bid go from outsider to real contender, a 60-strong delegation has been equally determined to showcase the vibrant atmosphere that awaits athletes and fans alike in 2018 should what has been dubbed ‘the life-changing bid’ be successful.

Speaking last night as he welcomed CGF delegates to a gala dinner featuring traditional Sri Lankan music and dancing, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chairman, said: “We want to show that as well as delivering a visionary, exciting, unique and technically strong bid, a successful Commonwealth Games in Hambantota will also be great fun.

“In Sri Lanka we know how to party.  We will ensure, if selected as the host city for the 2018 Games, that our opening and closing ceremonies capture all of this excitement and tradition in a way that highlights the diversity of our culture and embraces the vitality of our society.  We have spoken of the Games being a life-changing experience for our unified nation and people.  But it also promises to be a once in a lifetime experience for all we look forward to welcoming in 2018.”

Cabraal, also Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, also hosted beach barbeques for delegates and the Commonwealth family with traditional dance displays, drummers and acrobats.  He said he wants to encourage a celebratory, ‘festival mood’ ahead of the vote on Friday.

“Athletes and visitors coming to Sri Lanka will experience not only state of the art venues and facilities but also a colourful carnival atmosphere they will always remember,” he added.  “Sri Lanka’s ancient civilisation has endowed the country with a legacy of colourful festivals.  Our people are famous for their smiles and we want everyone to share our joy in hosting the Games in 2018.  We look forward to welcoming our friends to Hambantota in our own special way.”

Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, son of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Member of Parliament for Hambantota District, meanwhile welcomed guests to Hambantota’s hospitality suite.  The centrepiece of the room is a scale model of the ‘Sports City’ that will house 90 percent of the venues.  The CGF calls it one of the most compact Commonwealth Games concept designs ever developed.  

Praised by the CGF Evaluation Commission for being ‘visionary, exciting and unique’ and meeting every single technical requirement, the Hambantota 2018 bid has wowed delegations from the Caribbean & Americas, Africa, Europe, Oceania and Asia. With the result of its endeavours looming, the momentum is now behind a bid backed by an overwhelming 87 percent of the Sri Lankan population (99 percent in Hambantota itself).

The decision will be announced by outgoing CGF President Mike Fennell on the penultimate day of the CGF general assembly in St Kitts & Nevis this Friday 11 November at 18:00 local time.  It will be his last official act as CGF President after 17 years in the role, before handing over to HRH Prince Tunku Imran.  For more information on Hambantota 2018 visit: www.hambantota2018.com

-ENDS-

altMEDIA RELEASE

07 November 2011 – A 60-strong Sri Lankan delegation has arrived in the Caribbean to learn if the country has been successful in its ‘life-changing’ bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The decision will be made at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) general assembly in St Kitts and Nevis.  The conference begins today, with the crucial vote from the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories taking place on Friday 11 November.    

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hambantota 2018 Organising Committee Co-Chairman and Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, will be joined by fellow Co-Chair, Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage.  Alongside them will be Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, son of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Member of Parliament for Hambantota District.

Their integral role in leading the bid has been cited by commentators as a sign of tremendous and high-ranking political support right from the very top.  It is matched by overwhelming public support, with 87 percent of the Sri Lankan population backing the bid; in Hambantota itself this rises to 99 percent.  The figures are no surprise given what a Hambantota Games will mean for the unified country and its proud population, according to Governor Cabraal.

“A Hambantota 2018 Games will secure long-term social and economic benefits and drive sustainable development throughout our unified nation,” he says.  “It will make such a difference to the lives of young people in Sri Lanka and deliver a legacy with huge benefits for future generations.  But it will also be life-changing for our friends throughout the Commonwealth.”

Cabraal alludes to the wider benefits in bringing the Games to Sri Lanka, as cited in the CGF Evaluation Commission’s 144-page report.  It concludes that the Hambantota bid could provide a blueprint for future Commonwealth Games and for the other 61 Commonwealth nations that have never hosted the Games to follow.

“We want to share our enthusiasm for these Games and show that other countries can get involved,” says Cabraal.  “The Hambantota 2018 bid will also give huge encouragement to the other 61 nations that have never hosted the Games and may wish to do so.”

Australia (1938, 1962, 1982, 2006) and Canada (1930, 1954, 1978, 1994) have hosted the Games four times; New Zealand (1950, 1974, 1990) three times; England (1934, 2002) and Scotland (1970, 1986) twice; and Wales (1958), Jamaica (1966), Malaysia (1998) and India (2010) once. With Scotland hosting Glasgow 2014, a Hambantota 2018 Games will install Sri Lanka as only the 10th country to host the Games in its 80 year history.

Hon. Minister Aluthgamage, adds: “It is not only large and advanced economies that should be considered as host cities of major events.  A key ambition of our bid is to inspire other island, developing and emerging nations – and their people – throughout the Commonwealth.”

Other members of the Sri Lankan delegation include Mr Hemasiri Fernando, President of the Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee; Mr Udaya Seneviratne, Secretary to the Sports Ministry; and Muttiah Muralitharan, the most successful bowler in the history of Test cricket.

For more information on Hambantota 2018 visit: www.hambantota2018.com

-ENDS-

Notes to editors


About the Hambantota 2018 emblem and strapline

The Hambantota 2018 emblem features eight pairs of hands in the colours of the CGF.  Each pair of hands is pressed together, palms together and fingers pointed outwards.  This symbolises Añjali Mudrā, the hand gesture practiced throughout Asia and the continent’s eight Commonwealth members; it has the same meaning as the customary spoken Sanskrit greeting Namaste.  The design also depicts the similar Ayubowan gesture, a cultural symbol of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan hospitality.  The bid strap line is ‘Together.  From the heart.’

The Hambantota 2018 emblem and strapline are available on request as jpeg and/or eps files.

For further information on Hambantota 2018 visit www.hambantota2018.com


Media contact:

Malcolm Munro
+44 (0) 207 861 3217
+44 (0) 7795 013 006

Edd Ross
+44 (0) 207 861 3133
+44 (0) 7980 011 357

altNovember 5 - Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has admitted that the vote next week to decide whether the Gold Coast or Hambantota hosts the 2018 Commonwealth Games is on a knife-edge.

Bligh will lead the Australian delegation to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis, where 71 countries will vote.

The Gold Coast have been the favourites since started last year but Hambantota have run an impressive campaign.

''We're at the nail-biting end of this bid and it's a very nerve-racking time,'' said Bligh.

''I'm confident that what the Gold Coast will offer the Commonwealth Games is a world-class bid and a world-class sporting event.

''But you always go into these votes knowing that you can win or lose them, so we'll be putting every effort next week into every single voting delegate.''

The full Gold Coast team are due to arrive in the Caribbean on Tuesday (November 8).

''A successful Coast Commonwealth Games tilt could only further boost our reputation as the world's pre-eminent year-round elite training location and reinforce our tourism reputation,'' said Bligh.

"We know that Queenslanders got behind the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

"I know that if we're successful this week, they'll get behind the 2018 Commonwealth Games on our beautiful Gold Coast."

By Duncan Mackay

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

altOctober 31 - Hambantota has a compelling argument to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the leader of its only rival, the Gold Coast, has admitted.  

With only 11 days to go until the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly vote in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 on which city should host the Games the race is becoming increasingly competitive.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (pictured) allegedly broke an agreement he had with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard not to promote Hambantota's bid at a special breakfast organised by the CGF during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth last Saturday (October 29).

She made only a brief mention of the Gold Coast as having put in a bid, saying Australia would host an ''outstanding Games''.

But Rajapaksa used his 10-minute speech to make a concerted pitch for votes.

Gillard, in turn, has angred the Sri Lankans by questioning the country's human rights record following allegations that they committed atrocities against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) following their final push that defeated the separatists in 2009 following the 26-year-long civil war in the country.

Mark Stockwell, the chairman of Gold Coast 2018, acknowledged that Rajapaksa embodies the determination shared by everyone associated with Hambantota to pull off what less than a year ago would have seemed an unlikely triumph.

He fears that Hambantota's bid could benefit from the support of many of the emerging nations who make up the 72-member CGF.  

"That speech [on Saturday] by Sri Lanka's President should be enough to rock the boat of any Australian," he told Australian Associated Press (AAP).

"This would be the biggest event this country will host in the next eight to 10 years and I think all Australians should be behind it.

"But Sri Lanka is looking at it as a nation building exercise.

"We want a good sporting event, a good party, good celebration and let's get the city moving, but Sri Lanka is saying this is the focus that could change their country.

"That's a pretty compelling argument to a lot of the developing nations who have a vote."

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says the Games would help boost the Gold Coast's economy and take the city to a new level, as they did for Brisbane in 1982.

"But the most exciting thing is the mood, the vibe, that the Games will bring," she told AAP.

"An international event like this brings a massive buzz as the city transforms itself."

 

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Duncan Mackay

altOctober 30 - Hambantota's bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games has received a boost after leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth confirmed Sri Lanka will host its next summit in 2013 despite the country being accused of committing atrocities during the civil war.

The three-day 2011 CHOGM in Perth, which was attended by the Queen, drew to a close today after being dominated by the issue of Sri Lanka's human rights record.

Sri Lankan Government forces are accused of committing atrocities against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) following their final push that defeated the separatists in 2009 following the 26-year-long civil war in the country.

The accusations say that the military killed tens of thousands of civilians leading to calls that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (pictured) should be put on trial for war crimes and that the country should be expelled from the Commonwealth.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched an attempt to spark a major debate on the issue in Perth in an attempt to convince leaders to boycott the summit if held in Sri Lanka in 2013 unless Sri Lanka addresses the concerns properly.

But his attempt failed with Sri Lanka now guaranteed to host the event in the country in two years' time as planned after the decision was unanimously agreed on by the leaders in Perth.

Crucially for Hambantota's 2018 Commonwealth Games bid, it means that the Sri Lankan city no longer faces the danger of being removed for the Commonwealth and therefore being forced to pull out of the bid race with less than a month to go before the vote takes place.

Hambantota is bidding against the Gold Coast in Australia for the right to stage the 2018 event with the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories set to gather at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 to decide on where the event is held.

Rajapaksa has been attending the Summit in Perth and as well as defending his country against the accusations and, telling Commonwealth leaders "not to listen to the propagandists", he has also been promoting Hambantota's bid.

altAfter the close of the Perth summit, Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris (pictured) tried to combat the publicity about the human rights allegations.

"This is all propaganda against the Government of Sri Lanka," he said.

"There is really strong propaganda in this country [Australia] and several other countries.

"But the reality of the situation is this: Sri Lanka in all fairness has to be given credit for its legitimate accomplishments."

Sri Lanka has told critics to reserve judgment until it releases an internal report on alleged atrocities in the final stages of the 25-year-long civil war which ended in 2009.

But not everyone was happy.

"It is an absolute disgrace that Commonwealth leaders have agreed to hold their next meeting in Sri Lanka in spite of its appalling human rights record," Amnesty International's national director Claire Mallinson said.

 

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By Tom Degun

altOn time and on budget with 1,000 Days To Go until Glasgow 2014

Chief Executive pleased with progress to date on the pathway to the Games

With just 1,000 Days To Go until the Opening Ceremony for Glasgow 2014, the latest Games Partners' Progress Report confirms this major sporting event is "on track and on budget".

The report illustrates that good progress is being made across all areas and that with a little under Three Years Go, Scotland is already reaping the economic and social benefits of hosting the Games.

This report follows the recent visit by the Commonwealth Games Federation's Coordination Commission which was satisfied with the strong partnership approach taken by the Organising Committee and Games Partners that is delivering across all elements of the Games. The Commission also believed there was a "clear focus on generating value and legacy for the people of Glasgow and Scotland".

Scotland's economy has already gained from the Games, with almost 80% of current contracts being awarded to Scottish companies across a wide range of industries. Companies from all over Scotland are currently engaged with Glasgow 2014, delivering products and services essential to making the Games a success.

However, while Glasgow 2014 is pleased with the progress that has been made to date, there is an eagerness to maintain the momentum on the pathway towards delivering an outstanding Games.

The report - which is available from Thursday in full on http://www.glasgow2014.com/games_gallery/documents_library/most_recent.aspx - includes detail on the following progress:

Venues and infrastructure: Work has been progressing at key venues and locations including the Commonwealth Games Athletes' Village, where work on accommodation and facilities  for 6,500 athletes and officials got underway in June;  the National Indoor Sports Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, which is now 63% complete and where work has begun on the terraced seating;  Tollcross International Swimming Centre, which saw construction work get underway in June; the Scottish National Arena is taking shape; and Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre which, since August, has five new international standard lawns - the first of the venue development projects to be completed. Two major transport infrastructure projects - M74 extension and M80 upgrade - have been completed, improving access for spectators.

Commercial and Economy: Glasgow 2014 has appointed the BBC as Domestic Broadcast Rights Holder and signed three sponsorship agreements with Harper Macleod, Search Consultancy and Ernst & Young. The economy is also benefitting, with 105 of the 134 current contracts having been awarded to Scottish companies.

Community: Thousands of budding sportspeople at the Merchant City Festival accepted the "Three Years To Go" sporting challenge offered by Glasgow 2014. This saw them participate in events inspired by the 17 sports of Glasgow 2014. This was Glasgow's event in the Games for Scotland programme – a host of events that got underway on 23rd July, marking three years to go, and will end on 27th October, marking 1,000 Days To Go.  In addition to this, Glasgow 2014 attended the West End Festival and the Lord Provost's parade, as well as the Riding of the Scottish Parliament.

Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive David Grevemberg said:

"This report highlights the commitment by all at Glasgow 2014 and our Games Partners to deliver - on time and on budget - an outstanding and memorable Games for Glasgow and Scotland.

"Whilst we are confident with the work and planning done so far, no one at Glasgow 2014 is complacent about the task ahead as we enter the important detailed planning phase which will allow us to host a sporting event that will showcase Scotland at its very best on a global stage."
Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said:
“Glasgow 2014 is fast approaching and the venues and infrastructure are taking shape. With 1,000 days to go I’m pleased this latest progress report shows the Games remain on time, on budget and will provide a showcase for Scotland at its best.
 
“Now, more than ever, the Scottish Government is determined that the Games will provide a lasting legacy that is relevant to all Scots. Already across Scotland people are getting involved and feeling the excitement that the Games will bring but today we have launched our Games Legacy website, a one-stop shop for the public to access information on the range of legacy activity happening in their local community.”

Glasgow City Council Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games, Archie Graham said:

“1,000 Days To Go marks another phase in the countdown to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.  It is also a reminder of how quickly time has passed since we were awarded the Games.  In that period, we have made tremendous progress in preparing venues and infrastructure that will allow us to host a fantastic event.  Much work remains to be done, but we are confident that the Games will be a great success and will leave a fantastic legacy for Glasgow and Scotland.”

Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, Michael Cavanagh said:

“We are heartened by the strong progress made in planning to deliver a truly memorable Games. A key part of any successful Games is a successful home team performance and we are pleased to report that Team Scotland is well advanced in our planning to deliver on our potential in Glasgow and beyond”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, the national events agency, said:

“The Commonwealth Games Federation’s Coordination Commission findings are a ringing endorsement for the Organising Committee as it continues to deliver what promises to be a spectacular Commonwealth Games. With just 1,000 Days To Go, the Games really are a prospect which everyone can look forward to. It’s great to see that good progress is being made by the Organising Committee and we look forward to working with Glasgow 2014 to ensure that communities across Scotland have the opportunity to get involved in what promises to be a fantastic event for Glasgow, Scotland and the Commonwealth.”

Competition launched to design Glasgow 2014’s official mascot
UK-wide children’s competition launched with the BBC to mark 1,000 Days To Go until the Games
Glasgow 2014 has joined forces with the BBC to launch a children’s competition to design the official Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games mascot with exactly 1,000 days to go until the Opening Ceremony.

The competition will be launched in Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland's MacAulay & Co show with Fred MacAulay at 1030am.  The competition will feature in content right across the BBC on television, radio and online through the Nations.  There will also be coverage on BBC Sport and Blue Peter throughout the five-week competition.

The winner of the competition will be given four tickets to the Opening Ceremony.

Mascots are a major part of the Games experience, embodying the values of the Commonwealth Games and character of the host country, and playing a lead role in engaging and inspiring young people.

The Mascot will be a significant personality in the run-up to and during the Games, used by Glasgow 2014 to welcome visitors and spectators, visit schools and community events and appear on signage.

Glasgow 2014 is looking for a mascot that is:

•    Original;
•    A made up or imaginary character, animal or person;
•    Easy to recognise as the official mascot for Scotland and the Commonwealth Games;
•    Is appealing to young people;
•    Friendly; and
•    Incorporates red, yellow, green or blue – or all of these colours.

The entries will be judged in three age categories (6-8, 9-11 and 12-15) and children from all over the UK are being encouraged to enter the competition.

Ten of the best entries from each age category will be selected in the first round of judging. These will then be shortlisted and judged a second time before a final winner is chosen.

Those shortlisted will be contacted by the BBC.  The winner will be announced after the London 2012 Paralympics in September 2012, where the winning mascot will be unveiled.

The judging panel will be made up of BBC and Glasgow 2014 staff and external experts.

Entries must be sent in on an A4 piece of paper and must be drawn or painted. For full details of the competition, including how to enter, please visit: www.bbc.co.uk/glasgow2014 .

Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive David Grevemberg said:

“This is a great opportunity for someone to become part of Commonwealth Games history by designing our mascot, which will welcome spectators and athletes from all over the world to the Games.

“Designed by young people, for young people, the mascot will be very important to the Games and to Scotland.  We believe that one very special person will put pen or paintbrush to paper and come up with something totally original for us to have as our friendly face of the Games.”

Ken MacQuarrie, Director of BBC Scotland, said:

“BBC Scotland is delighted to be involved with the search for a mascot for Glasgow 2014. This is an exciting opportunity for young people across the UK to get involved with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and contribute a lasting legacy.

“It is fantastic that MacAulay and Co on BBC Radio Scotland will be launching the competition and we look forward to seeing the finished result next year."

Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said:

“We’ve seen the role the mascots can play with young people. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville have been visiting schools across the UK inspiring young people to choose sport.”


Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison MSP said:
“The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will be a truly Scottish occasion and I am delighted that young people across the country are being encouraged to get involved through the mascot competition.
 
“There are 1,000 days to go to the Opening Ceremony of what will be an outstanding Games and giving our young people the opportunity to impact on how the event is marketed across country, the Commonwealth and the world is the perfect way in which to mark such an important milestone.
 
“The Games will show the world what vibrant and welcoming places both Glasgow and Scotland are and now more than ever it’s important that we involve people and communities from across Scotland in the excitement of the Games. I would encourage all young people to get involved with this competition and play their part as we get ever closer to the opening ceremony in 2014.”
 
Councillor Archie Graham, Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, said:

“The creation of a mascot for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games presents another chance for young people to become involved in and inspired by our preparations for this unique event in their lives.
”Those involved in the process will see their winning entry to the competition become a symbol of the Games, recognisable to many millions of people.  I look forward to seeing what our young people come up with.”
Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman Michael Cavanagh said:
“The mascot competition is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved and use their creative talents to develop a special symbol for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“The mascot is an integral part of the marketing campaigns for the Games and must embody values of the Games as well as bringing a bit of fun and colour to the proceedings. For the athletes, the mascot is a symbol of their participation in the Games, of the friendships made and the medals won.”

Note to Editors

1.    Glasgow 2014 appointed the BBC as the Domestic Broadcast Rights Holder for the XX Commonwealth Games in June 2011.


2.    The BBC investment in Glasgow 2014 reflects the importance of the Games to the Home nations and offers the Organising Committee an unparalleled platform for the promotion of the Games to the widest possible UK audience.


3.    The BBC Network offers coverage of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games through the BBC One and BBC Two television networks, news coverage across the BBC Radio and TV networks (including Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra), red button interactive and/or IPTV services, the BBC Sport website and international promotion of the Games through BBC World News and the BBC World Service.  


4.    The BBC’s network television channels are watched by 85% of the population each week, whilst 66% listen to the BBC’s national radio stations.


5.    Running in parallel with the young people’s design competition, Glasgow 2014 has also started the global search for a marketing agency to develop the winning design in to a finished product.  The agency will work with the winning design to create a number of Mascot films, poses and designs that will be used throughout the city and across marketing materials for the Games.


6.    For media queries on Glasgow 2014 please contact Glasgow 2014 PR Manager Holly Wheeler on 0141 287 3457 or holly.wheeler@glasgow2014.com


7.    For media queries for the BBC, please contact Karen Higgins on 0141 422 6379 or Karen.Higgins1@bbc.co.uk .

 
Kate Randall
Director of Games Family Relations and Protocol