By Duncan Mackay

Skilled_Stadium_Gold_CoastApril 25 - The Gold Coast's bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games has received a big boost after it was announced that the city will be the new home for the Australian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series for the next four years, and will kick off the 2011/12 World Series.

The first International Sevens Gold Coast tournament will be staged at the Skilled Stadium on November 25-26, just two weeks after the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is due to announce the host city for 2018, where the Gold Coast is facing rival Hambantota.

The event is supported by the Queensland Government through Events Queensland and the Gold Coast City Council.

"Winning the bid for an event as prestigious as this is great news for the Gold Coast and great news for Queensland," said Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

"At a time when we are putting the finishing touches on another bid - for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 – this reinforces our message that the Gold Coast is a first-class sporting destination and event ready in every way.

"What better place to host an international tournament than the state-of-the-art stadium at Skilled Park?

"An event of this calibre will also deliver a shot in the arm to the Gold Coast tourism industry and economy – and that's good news for local business and local jobs.

"What's more it will position the Gold Coast and Queensland front and centre on the world stage."

The profile of sevens has rocketed since the sport was added to the programme for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the Gold Coast will replace Adelaide as the host city for the Australian leg of the World Series.

"The IRB (International Rugby Board) is delighted that the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series will kick off on Queensland's Gold Coast. Australia's commitment to sevens rugby over the years has been demonstrated by a fantastic tournament in Adelaide and I am sure that the Gold Coast will prove to be a hugely successful host, providing the platform for Sevens to reach out to yet more people," said Bernard Lapasset, the chairman of the IRB.

"The HSBC Sevens World Series continues to go from strength to strength in every way, attracting not only an increasing number of fans and television broadcasters but also interest from an unprecedented number of global destinations keen to share in its excitement.

"We very much look forward to this exciting new chapter in the development of the Series and wish the organisers every success.

The Australian Rugby Union's (ARU) decision to move the tournament comes after a thorough bidding process.

"Last November, we invited a range of interested parties from across Australia to submit proposals to host the Australian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series and we received very competitive responses from Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast," said John O'Neill, the ARU managing director and chief executive.

"After a thorough review process, which included consultation with the International Rugby Board, I am pleased to announce that the Gold Coast was selected as the new home to one of Australia's fastest growing sports and one of the World's most exciting rugby events.

"The decision to move the event to the Gold Coast for the next four years came after a thorough review of some very good proposals and I want to congratulate all the interested parties that expressed a strong desire to host the tournament.

"The Gold Coast is known around the world as a city of excitement and fun and that is exactly the atmosphere we want to permeate through to the Sevens tournament.

"We know tournaments like Dubai, Hong Kong and Wellington all put on a show that attracts people from around the world and we are confident that the decision to host this tournament on the Gold Coast will deliver another exciting opportunity for fans to enjoy international sevens."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
April 2011: Queensland Premier to deliver Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games bid
April 2011: Triple Commonwealth Games gold medallist to lead Gold Coast 2018 Athletes Committee
February 2011: Queensland Premier appoints Parliamentary Secretary for 2018 Gold Coast bid
February 2011: IAAF President tours Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games stadium
January 2011: Winning Commonwealth Games bid tops wish list of Gold Coast Mayor