SYDNEY, Nov 12 (AFP): Australia was celebrating today as the Commonwealth Games Federation named Queensland’s Gold Coast as the host of the 2018 Games, over Sri Lanka’s Hambantota. “See you in Gold Coast in 2018!!!” the federation said on Twitter, following a vote of its general assembly in the Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis on Friday evening local time – this morning in Australia.
Gold Coast, a sub-tropical tourist hotspot that is home to more than 500,000 people, promised to provide a stark contrast with last year’s host, India’s teeming capital New Delhi.
The 2010 Delhi Games proved troubled, with the sporting headlines stolen by venue delays, shoddy construction and budget overruns that saw the cost of the event triple to US$6 billion. Australia said hosting the Commonwealth Games for the fifth time, becoming the only nation to ever do so, would allow it to showcase its ability to host major international sporting events.
“This morning’s victory was a fantastic result for the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia,” Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan and Sport Minister Mark Arbib said in a joint statement. “It will provide a big boost to tourism and jobs on the Gold Coast, both in the lead up to the Games and during the event.” Australia has a long association with the Commonwealth Games, hosting the Games four times – most recently in Melbourne in 2006.