By Tom Degun

mike hooper_28-02-12February 28 - Mike Hooper (pictured), chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), has claimed that early interest in bidding for the 2022 Commonwealth Games has put the organisation in a very healthy position.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will not be awarded to a city until the CGF General Assembly in 2015 but a number of potential bidders have already confirmed their interest in hosting the Games.

Brian MacPherson, the chief executive of Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC), revealed to insidethegames earlier this month that his country will bid for the event and that multiple cities have already expressed an interest in staging the competition.

South Africa are said to be mounting a bid, with Durban being the most likely city to be put forward, while Hambantota in Sri Lanka have suggested they will return to bid after they were defeated by the Gold Coast of Australia in their attempt to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Reports suggest Christchurch in New Zealand is another city looking to bid as part of a major rebuilding mission following devastating earthquakes in the region in 2010 and 2011, while Singapore is thought to be another potential candidate after the city-state successfully hosted the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

Cardiff in Wales is also looking to bid, although the Welsh capital is said to favour a bid for 2026 rather than 2022.

Anna Bligh_and_Mark_Stockwell_in_Gold_Coast_2018_group_shot
"Given that we only awarded the 2018 Commonwealth Games to the Gold Coast in November, it is very exciting to see so much interest in the 2022 event at such an early stage," Hooper told insidethegames.

"The event will not be awarded until 2015 and already a number of high profile countries have expressed an interest in bidding.

"It is very healthy for us.

"It shows that the Commonwealth Games remains a leading event and a highly sought-after competition.

"It also means that the Commonwealth Games Movement is in very good shape."

Hooper also admitted that he was aware of calls by some to take the competition to new parts of the world.

It was a criticism levelled at the Commonwealth Games Movement following the 2018 vote because the Gold Coast victory over Hambantota meant that the Commonwealth Games will be staged in Australia for the fifth time whereas it has never been to Sri Lanka.

But Hooper said that all bids are accessed first and foremost on their strength to host the competition.

"There are clearly those who want to take the Commonwealth Games to new parts of the world and that is something that is very important for us going forward," Hooper said.

"But in order for that to happen, they must put forward the best bid and the best plan to stage an elite sporting competition for the Commonwealth's top athletes.

"We do not have a policy of rotation and all candidates are assessed against Games requirements."

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