By Tom Degun

asian delegates_at_gold_coast_25-10-11October 25 - The final group Commonwealth Games voting delegates from Asia and the Caribbean have completed their visit of Australia's Gold Coast, with less than three weeks to go until a decision is made on where the 2018 competition will be held.

The group consisted of representatives from Bangladesh, Jamaica, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, while their visit coincided with the famous V8 600 car race in the city's Surfers Paradise.

Gold Coast 2018 chairman Mark Stockwell said he was delighted that the final inspection from voting delegates came at the same time as the high-speed sporting event as he feels that it illustrated just how well the city can host major sporting event.

"The Asian and Caribbean delegates and African regional vice-president [Abdoulie M Touray] arrived just in time to witness the most breathtaking event in Queensland, held right in the heart of the Gold Coast," said Stockwell, an Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimming medallist.

"This visit really emphasised the fact highlighted by the Commonwealth Games Federation [CGF] Evaluation Commission in its report that a Games on the Gold Coast is a 'low risk' with its experience in staging major events and it clearly showed the support for the Bid and the Commonwealth Games by the Australian public, which augurs well for the Gold Coast to stage a successful event."

Gold Coast are currently bidding against Hambantota in Sri Lanka who were given a "high risk" status by the CGF Evaluation Commission, largely due to the fact that the majority of their venues scheduled for the 2018 competition are not yet built.

asian delegates_at_gold_coast_25-10-111
The 71 Commonwealth nations and territories set to cast one vote each at the CGF General Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 to determine which city will stage the event but it is clear that Gold Coast impressed delegates in their final visit.

"The Commonwealth Games will be good for the Gold Coast but the Gold Coast will be good for the Commonwealth Games," said Jamaica's Robert Richard.

However, it is likely that the majority, if not all eight of the nations from the Asia region, will vote for their own continent's bid in Hambantota, with Oceania having pledge all their 13 votes to the Australian candidate.

Gold Coast 2018 bid chief executive Mark Peters said he hoped his team had now done enough to persuade a majority of delegates to vote for the city.

"We have ensured throughout the programme that the 'whole of Games' experience has been highlighted and our guests see the true diversity of the city's attractions," said Peters, who will be leading the Gold Coast bid team's final lobbying efforts in St Kitts and Nevis.

The announcement of the 2018 Commonwealth Games host city will be made by CGF President Mike Fennell of Jamaica at St Kitts Marriott Resort at 6pm local time following final presentations from the two bidding cities and the Gold Coast community have been invited to watch the announcement live on a giant screen at Broadwater Parklands in Gold Coast City.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
October 2011: Exclusive - Gold Coast and Hambantota would both stage great Commonwealth Games claims Fennell
October 2011: Legacy benefits to Gold Coast of 2018 Commonwealth Games will be huge, says city's Mayor
October 2011: Oceania to vote en masse in support of Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games bid
October 2011: Gold Coast 2018 prepare for final test before host city chosen
October 2011: Exclusive - 2018 Commonwealth Games vote will be difficult for our members says CGF vice-president