Gold Coast wins Commonwealth bid

Australia's Gold Coast has been chosen to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the event's governing body...

Eyewitness News report

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Australia's Gold Coast has been chosen to

host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the event's governing body said in St Kitts

and Nevis on Friday.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) opted

for Gold Coast by a 43-27 margin over its only rival, the Sri Lankan city of

Hambantota.

The subtropical beachside region of

Queensland will bring the Games to Australia for a fifth time, after Sydney in

1938, Perth (1962), Brisbane (1982) and Melbourne (2006).

"We've done a lot of hard work and it

was very clear earlier in the week that there were a lot delegates wanting to

support Hambantota," a jubilant Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said.

"It's been a very, very close vote.

"There was a good chance that we weren't

going to make it. We had seven (presentation) rehearsals, we've lobbied

everybody, people have had jet-lag all week.

"At the end of all that, the hard work

has paid off. I am so proud of this team, I am so proud of the Gold Coast and I

am so proud of being a Queenslander tonight."

The Gold Coast bid represented the safer of

the two with the CGF still smarting from the public relations disaster that

surrounded the Delhi Games last year when last-minute government intervention

was required to clean up filthy facilities and dangerous infrastructure.

Many top athletes such as Jamaica's multiple

Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt skipped the 2010 Games because the timing

did not fit their schedules, while other athletes stayed away because of

security concerns which proved unfounded.

Sri Lanka had been bidding to stage the Games

for the first time, with the Asian continent having previously played host just

twice with Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and India's New Delhi last year.

Winning the right to host the 2018 Games

would have given Sri Lanka a timely opportunity to change the world's

perception of the war-hit country.

The Indian Ocean island nation is emerging

from the end of a three-decade conflict amid war crime allegations, and more

than 100,000 people were killed before hostilities ended in May 2009.