Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Australia makes official bid for 2018 CWG

Australia has officially launched its bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. With Trinidad and Tobago pulling out of the race, it might be a two-horse race between the Gold Coast and Nigeria's capital, Abuja.

Australian Commonwealth Games Association president Sam Coffa joined Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Gold Coast mayor Ron Clarke on Wednesday to sign the formal bid lodgment paper, which has been forwarded to the Commonwealth Games Federation in London.

Potential host cities have until the close of business on March 31 London time to put in their expressions of interest.

But Abuja was the only other city that has publicly announced its interest after an expected bid by Auckland, New Zealand, fell through, Mr Coffa said.

Mr Coffa said 2018 was possibly Queensland's "one window of opportunity". Many more bids are expected for the 2022 games as the economies across the world improves.

He said he had considered Auckland to be the frontrunner for the 2018 games, but with their bid not expected to go through, that put Australia "well on the front foot".

"Certainly it's a lot easier (with two candidates) than if you had three. At this stage we know two, we will know tomorrow or the day after whether there has been any (more) expressions." he said

Mr Coffa said the Gold Coast's size and low-cost model may be its best asset after major metropolis had hosted the past four events in Australia.

"I think it's possibly one of the strengths. A regional city can afford and can plan and can organise a successful games. If we did not believe that we stood a reasonable chance, we would have not made a decision to bid.", he said.

If successful, the state government would spend $11 million on its bid and invest more than $1 billion in infrastructure over the next eight years, including an upgraded aquatic centre, new velodrome and athletes' village.

The athletes village would then be sold as residential accommodation, recouping some money.

Ms Bligh said the games would be a shot in the arm for the coast's economy, boosting industry, tourism and the region's ability to host international sporting events and teams.

"I believe we are well placed to win this bid," she said.

She said the games would transform the Gold Coast, as it had done for Brisbane in 1982.

The winning bid will be announced in November 2011. Melbourne was the last Australian host of the Games in 2006. The 2010 Games are in Delhi in October this year and Glasgow in 2014.

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