By Tom Degun in Innsbruck

Prince Tunku_Imran_by_Olympic_flagJanuary 19 - Malaysia's Prince Tunku Imran, the new President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), has claimed that giving flexibility to host cities of the Commonwealth Games is helping to create more interest in bidding for prestigious competition.

In November last year, Australia's Gold Coast were awarded the right to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games following a hard-fought battle with Hambantota in Sri Lanka in a bid race that many experts consider one the most exciting and unpredictable in the history of the event.

A number of countries have already expressed a provisional interest in hosting the event in the near future, including South Africa, Canada and New Zealand and Prince Imran, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), believes such interest is being created because of the flexibility afforded to host cities by the CGF.

"The Commonwealth Games continues to grow and our future is bright," he said here in Innsbruck at the Association of International Press for Sports (AIPS) Congress.

"The next edition of the Games takes place in July 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, following that the Gold Coast in Australia in 2018, and already strong expressions of interest have been made in relation to both 2022 and 2026.

"This interest, I believe is enhanced through the flexible approach we take in setting our sports programme, potential bids have substantial flexibility to develop a programme that will meet their aspirations, particularly from a legacy perspective."

Prince Imran continued that the CGF, who recently signed up to become a Gold Partner of the AIPS, will continue using the Commonwealth Games to support people across the Commonwealth, indicating that he wants to see the event go to virgin territories in the future.

"Our vision and mission at the Commonwealth Games Federation is to reflect and celebrate this diversity, to promote and deliver a unique, friendly, world class Commonwealth Games and to develop sport for the benefit of the people, the nations and the territories of the Commonwealth, and thereby strengthen the Commonwealth itself," he said.

"To that end, we devote significant resources, time and personnel to international development activities.

"For us, this is central to our mission – we exist to serve the people of the Commonwealth.

"We support initiatives that use sport as a tool for community development, build youth leadership skills and create positive change.

"Young interns from the Commonwealth Games family are working in 15 nations; from the Caribbean to Africa to the Indian Ocean.

"I am immensely proud of their work."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
November 2011: Gideon Sam could lead South Africa bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games
November 2011: Exclusive - I want lots of bidders for 2022 Commonwealth Games says new President
November 2011: Hambantota may bid again for Commonwealth Games after Gold Coast defeat