Hambantota -, July 5 - Hambantota has boosted its chances of hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games, following a visit of the Commonwealth Games Federation - Evaluation Commission here last week.

The quickly developing southern Sri Lankan metropolis is one of two cities along with Australia's Gold Coast bidding to host the sports extravaganza.

Following a tour of the city and meeting with key officials, evaluation commission chairman Louise Martin said the team was very impressed with Hambantota.

'Overall, the proposal of staging the Commonwealth Games in Hambantota is an exciting one and, given the development of the relevant infrastructure, will provide a unique Games experience for the athletes and other Games client groups,' Martin said.

'We have been impressed with the vision for Sri Lanka and Hambantota, and now have a clear view of where the hosting of the Commonwealth Games could fit within that vision.'

The commission comprised Gideon Sam, president of the South Africa Sports Confederation and National Olympic Committee; Erskine Simmons, Secretary General of the Barbados Olympic Committee; Andrew Ryan, executive director of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations; and Mike Hooper, CGF CEO.

They held high-level discussions with representatives of national, district and local governments and senior representatives of the bid team.

'The leadership shown by the national and district governments is impressive. The alignment of agencies around the national, regional and Games vision is equally impressive,' Martin said.

'As you would expect more than seven years out, and with considerable additional work to be done in forming the final Games plan, there are some matters which simply cannot be, or do not need to be, known at this stage,' Martin said.

'That said, the foundations for a great Games are laid in the plans which are now being locked down by the governments, the bid team and the Sri Lankan Commonwealth Games Association,' he added.

A report will now be submitted by the commission on both cities by October 11 before a vote is taken on the successful candidate at the federation's General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis a month later.



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