By Duncan Mackay

Ajith Nivard_Cabraal_welcomes_Oceania_delegates_during_visit_October_2011October 14 - The Commonwealth Games should provide an opportunity to help a country train young people and for businesses to grow, the head of Hambantota's bid to host the 2018 event has claimed as the race with the Gold Coast enters the home straight.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal (pictured), the co-chairman of Hambantota 2018 and Governor of Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, appears to be growing increasingly optimistic in the build-up to the vote at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11.

Unlike its only rival, Hambantota has few facilities in place but Cabraal claims that this should not matter when the 71 countries and territories cast their vote.

"The fact that there is a seven-year lag [between the vote and hosting the Games] tells me that the CGF wants people to get ready for the Games, providing the opportunity for new countries to emerge," said Cabraal.

"I believe strongly that the whole experience hinges not on being event-ready but on getting ready over seven years.

"There are enormous opportunities for young people to train, for businesses to grow, for venues to be constructed and for legacies to be planned.

"The Games should aspire to deliver these.

"'That is what our Hambantota 2018 bid is all about."

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