Michael Pavitt ©ITG

While the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) are in a state of flux regarding the destination of the 2022 event, following the stripping of rights from Durban, the organisation must be glad that Gold Coast 2018 has been humming along nicely in the background.

Australian organisers have certainly increased the noise level in recent weeks, however. From rocking up to Buckingham Palace with a blue surfing koala in a tuxedo and a Bondi van to help launch the Queen's Baton Relay, to throwing a three-hour party in Surfers Paradise this week to mark the one-year to go milestone, the excitement and hype for the Games is certainly being ratcheted up a notch.

It says a large amount about the preparations that they have been able to do so without being barracked by the usual questions associated with putting on major events. For instance, will the venues be ready on time?

As it stands, all permanent facilities are poised to be delivered in the next month, with the Belmont Shooting Range in Brisbane and the Gold Coast Hockey Centre requiring finishing touches. The superb Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre is complete, with the smell of fresh paint still lingering in the air as the badminton, powerlifting, weightlifting and wrestling venue prepares for its opening to the public.

Gold Coast 2018 chairman Peter Beattie has repeatedly been asserting the high quality of the facilities, claiming that, despite all the rain brought to Queensland by Cyclone Debbie in the past fortnight, "there has not been a single leak".

Temporary structures do still need to be put in place, with the Carrara Stadium and Gold Coast Aquatic Centre likely to look very different in 12 months.

Promotion of the Commonwealth Games and potential rivalries between Australia and England and New Zealand is being stepped up before tickets go on sale for April 24 ©Getty Images
Promotion of the Commonwealth Games and potential rivalries between Australia and England and New Zealand is being stepped up before tickets go on sale for April 24 ©Getty Images

The first venue, home to both Ceremonies and athletics competitions, seems the more complicated job to complete. A small section of seating and the giant video screen will need to be removed to enable the athletics track to adequately be placed in the venue. Gold Coast 2018 have admitted it will be "tight".

Temporary stands will also be erected inside the venue, taking the capacity up from around 25,000 to between 35,000 and 40,000. Work is poised to begin in September when the ground's current tenants, Australian Football League team Gold Coast Suns, finish their season. The revised facility is due to be complete in February, two months prior to the Games.

Similarly, the Aquatic Centre will see a sharp rise in capacity, from the hundred or so seats currently present. By the Games, it will house 10,000 people and three stands, which will consist of 5,000, 3,000 and 2,000 seats each.

Whether these temporary builds run as smoothly as the permanent constructions remains to be seen but it would be fair to say that Gold Coast 2018 are happy with progress to date. Beattie gave them a score of 9.5 out of 10 earlier this week, claiming that only paranoia prevented him from giving top marks.

Perhaps an area where the 0.5 could be shaven off is the departure of the organisation's head of sport Anita Palm, which was confirmed this week. While played down by Gold Coast 2018 chief executive Mark Peters as normal at this stage of the process, it does seem unusual at first glance.

Gold Coast 2018 mascot Borobi has been a central part of their promotion of the Games ©Getty Images
Gold Coast 2018 mascot Borobi has been a central part of their promotion of the Games ©Getty Images

Transport across the city must still remain the key concern for organisers, with around 1.5 million spectators, as well as thousands of athletes, officials, volunteers and media, set to descend on a city which is predominantly served by one long highway. Again, the answer to if organisers have got the solution will only come at the Games.

Certainly, the rhetoric has changed since I visited the Gold Coast in December, when the CGF were in town for their latest Coordination Commission meeting. While the nuts and bolts of the Games were discussed then, there is now a real pre-Games feel about the city.

Seeing the number of people come out to attend the one-year to go celebration at Surfers Paradise made it clear that organisers have managed to engage with the locals so far. Beattie's rallying of the crowd, asking them if they wanted more cultural events, before revealing there would be a 12-day festival during the Games, spoke volumes about Gold Coast 2018's efforts to actively get the public involved.

The Games' mascot Borobi has been promoted to good effect and is present at virtually every event which has been put on. I would need to conduct a quick internet search to remember mascots from recent multi-sport events, but not so here.

There has been promotion on London taxis, a ticket promotion on a Gold Coast tram and a host of Games related stalls in just the past month. Understandably this has come as the countdown to tickets going on sale approaches - April 24 if you are not yet aware.

I could not help but contrast it to the one-year to go celebrations which took place for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang back in February, where only a small number of people were present at a countdown clock unveiling in Seoul. The mascots, while present, were not the life and soul of the party to get people engaged.

A lavish Opening Ceremony style event aside, it did not carry the feel that it was one-year until the Games. Here, it feels like it could be starting next month.

Tourism Queensland are keen to maximise the interest generated by the Commonwealth Games to encourage more visitors to travel to the Gold Coast afterwards ©Getty Images
Tourism Queensland are keen to maximise the interest generated by the Commonwealth Games to encourage more visitors to travel to the Gold Coast afterwards ©Getty Images

There is also a growing competitive spirit about the Games, with Australia hoping to instigate a greater rivalry with England and New Zealand prior to the sport getting underway next April. Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is the chief provocateur at this moment in time, encouraging the public to snap up tickets to watch Australia "smash the poms and the Kiwis". A healthy rivalry will prove good for the fans, organisers and athletes over the coming months.

While striving to put on the best Games possible, there also appears to be an insatiable desire to squeeze all the positive aspects out of the multi-sport event as possible. Speaking to Tourism Queensland officials this week, it is clear they are eager to use the Games to further drive people to the Australian state and Gold Coast itself.

From their perspective, the outdoor events will prove to be the billboard which is promoted to the estimated 1.5 billion television audience. It is not hard to see why. Having pictures beamed around the world of a long, golden beachfront and an impressive skyline is simply a vote winner for tourists. The World Triathlon Series which took place here this weekend provided a flavour of this.

When even more screens flicker on for next year's Commonwealth Games, it should not be long before the watching audience reach for the holiday brochures, particularly if the sun is shining.