November 11 - Nalin Attygalle, chief executive of the Hambantota 2018 bid, has made a final plea to voters to take the Commonwealth Games to Sri Lanka by highlighting the fact that the competition has never been to the country.
Hambantota will find out later today whether they or their sole rivals, Gold Coast of Australia, will stage the prestigious 2018 competition with the vote set to take place at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly here.
Attygalle, who has masterminded the Hambantota bid from day one, feels that his city deserve the event more than the Gold Coast due to the fact the Commonwealth Games have been to Australia on four occasions -in 1938, 1962, 1982 and 2006 - but never to Sri Lanka.
"The Commonwealth Games are a life-changing event and that will certainly be the case for Hambantota," Attygalle told insidethegames.
"The fact is that Australia have now hosted a life-changing Commonwealth Games in their country four times so now we deserve one.
"It will be life-changing due to the fact that it will provide huge benefit to the people in Hambantota and Sri Lanka and also due to the fact that it would show that there are more than a handful of countries in the Commonwealth that can stage the event.
"At first, maybe there were some who did not believe that we had the capacity to achieve such an ambitious plan but now those doubts have been largely eliminated.
"The funding of the development programme to transform the country and the Hambantota region has substantial and long-term political and financial commitment.
"As a unified nation, we are on an exciting and progressive journey.
"Bidding for the Games is an important part of that.
"It is catalyst for sustainable development.
"The Government is committed to building a better tomorrow for all our people."
Leading the Hambantota bid in St Kitts is Namal Rajapaksa, the son of the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa (pictured above with CGF chief executive Mike Hooper), and MP for Hambantota District.
He has claimed that a 2018 Commonwealth Games in Hambantota will create 100,000 jobs in the region and inject billions into the economy.
"Our bid has grown stronger and we have demonstrated our capability to succeed," he said.
The decision will be announced by the outgoing CGF President, Mike Fennell, at 6pm local time.
It will be his last official act as CGF President after 17 years in the role before handing over to Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
November 2011: Exclusive - Vote is open, says Gold Coast 2018 chairman
November 2011: Exclusive - War crimes issue no longer problem for Hambantota 2018 bid, claims President's son
November 2011: Bookies make Gold Coast favourites but Australians fear Hambantota
November 2011: Hambantota 2018 arrive for Commonwealth Games vote
November 2011: Hambantota promise 2018 be "public transport Games"