By Tom Degun in St Kitts and Nevis

Mark Stockwell_after_Gold_Coast_2018_awarded_Commonwealth_GamesNovember 11 - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games chairman Mark Stockwell expressed his delight after his city held off the fight from Hambantota in Sri Lanka to host the event.

The 70 Commonwealth Games nations and territories in attendance here at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly voted by 43 to 27 in favour of the Australian city who will now host the competition for the fifth time ever.

"I think we won because we really pitched hard to make this an athlete-centred Games but we are just so proud of the result," said an ecstatic Stockwell.

"I really want to thank everyone that contributed to the bid and this outstanding result.

"It was a collective effort and one that Gold Coasters, Queenslanders and all Australians should be very proud.

The Gold Coast chairman also paid tribute to Hambantota for putting up a superb fight for the event.

"At the same time as celebrating victory, I really want to pay tribute to Hambantota," he said.

"At times in their presentation, I actually wanted to vote for them because they were so convincing and were speaking from the heart.

"But we put so much heart and so much hard work into our bid so I think we really deserved that victory.

"Now we need to put the same amount of energy and passion in to prepare and deliver the very best event the Commonwealth has ever known.

CGF President Mike Fennell of Jamaica made the announcement in what was his final fficial act in the position following a 17-year reign that now sees him handover to Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia.

He paid tribute to the victors.

"My sincere congratulations to Gold Coast - theirs was a fantastic bid and they are a very, very worthy winner," he said.

The Jamaican added that there is still a desire to take the Commonwealth Games to new parts of the world despite the event going to Australia for the fifth time and Sri Lanka never having hosted the event.

"Hambantota was also a very strong bid, and we have a duty to take the Games to new places, but the bid needs to be the right thing for the Commonwealth Games movement at the right time," he explained.

"This time Gold Coast was successful, but I hope Hambantota consider bidding again - their team were wonderful."

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