November 10 - Mark Stockwell, the chairman of Gold Coast's bid to host the Commonwealth Games, has revealed that he does not consider his city to be favourites and admitted he is growing concerned that sole rivals Hambantota could secure a shock victory.
Both cities are here at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly with the winning bid set to be announced tomorrow.
So far at the gathering in the Caribbean, Hambantota have dazzled the delegates throughout with a spectacular display of traditional Sri Lankan music and dancing and Stockwell, a former Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimming medallist, admits that he is both impressed and unnerved by the Hambantota 2018 display.
"Hambantota have really come a very long way," he told insidethegames.
"From not even being in Delhi at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, they have really picked up their game a lot.
"We are not the favourites and I have never believed that we were for a single minute.
"I feel this could go either way and I didn't get much sleep at all last night.
"What they are doing here and the display they are putting on is obviously very impressive.
"But that is honestly okay with me because I'm an old sportsman and I don't mind when your opponent steps it up because it makes you compete harder.
"Things are a bit different from when I competed because as a swimmer, I always controlled my own destiny and was only focused only on myself.
"But in this business, the lobbying business, you need the delegates and you need their support.
"So it is different in a technical sense but the core elements of discipline and hard work and never giving up are all the same."
The Gold Coast 2018 bid chairman added that he feels his team have done everything they possibly could have to secure ultimate victory but that they will keep working hard until the very end.
"I'm very confident in our bid and I'm glad with the level of detail we have put forward," he said.
"We were marked as a low risk bid which is a big achievement in itself.
"We are now fighting hard to show in these crucial last few hours that the Gold Coast is a sophisticated city that is really going to lift the brand of the Commonwealth Games.
"We have shown that throughout the process when the delegates visited the Gold Coast earlier this so we just need to take our message and reinforce it because the finishing line is very much in sight."
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