POSTED: September 13th 2011
NewsUpdate

Hambantota 2018: Commonwealth Games will inspire our young athletes

Bronze medal winning womens badminton doubles pair Upuli Samanthika (l) and Achini Rathnasiri (r) who clinched Bronze with a 2-1 victory over Australia at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games earlier this week / Hambantota 2018
Bronze medal winning womens badminton doubles pair Upuli Samanthika (l) and Achini Rathnasiri (r) who clinched Bronze with a 2-1 victory over Australia at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games earlier this week / Hambantota 2018

Sports Features Communications

TAMPA: The island nation of Sri Lanka is looking to build off an impressive performance at the inaugural 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games.

The big star is badminton doubles national champion Achini Rathnasiri who won bronze in the women’s badminton doubles with Upuli Samanthika. Rathnasiri also took the national title at age 15 and badminton is the sport that is gaining momentum on the competition.

The co-chair of the organizing committee, Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, said. “I congratulate our three medal winners on their fantastic achievement. 

“And I extend my congratulations to all 25 young Sri Lankan’s who competed in the Commonwealth Youth Games; in athletics, badminton, gymnastics, rugby sevens and swimming. 

“It is a clear indication of how our passion for cricket is turning to a wide range of other sports – and of the young talent growing throughout our unified nation. We have an exciting new generation of sporting stars in Sri Lanka and a Hambantota Games will see them shine.”

Why were these Games so important? Well, Sri Lanka is hoping to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games and become the 10th nation to ever host the games. They would join a list that includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Wales, Jamaica, Malaysia and India. All but the final 3 nations have been multiple edition hosts of the Games.

To showcase what Hambantota can do as a sporting host, they will be hosting the 2016 South Asian Games. A successful edition of the Games could put Sri Lanka on the sporting map and help it gain respect from other nations.

The venues for the ‘Sports City’ development that will include 90 percent of the 2018 Game are already under construction and have a futuristic theme to them. Another advantage of the bid are the infrastructure improvements such as a new airport and seaport as well as new roads and public transit. As Cabraal, said, "This is our date with sporting destiny."

Hambantota 2018 is seen as the main event of a seven year plan to build up sport in Sri Lanka. The goal is to finish among the top three in the medal count at the 2018 Games. The Sri Lankan delegation managed to finish 17th out of 63 nations in the youth games.

Cabraal added, “Indeed, the CGF report rightly says that there are huge benefits in bringing the Commonwealth Games to Sri Lanka despite the fact that many of our state-of-the-art venues have not yet been built. That our revolutionary plans could provide a blueprint for future Commonwealth Games. And that our proposition could become a blueprint for the other 61 Commonwealth nations that have never hosted the Games to follow."

Badminton and cricket are not the only sports that Sri Lanka has high hopes for in the future. Teenage running sensation Siwanthi Kumari Rathnayaka won silver in the 400m. This has created high hopes that Sri Lanka can win a medal in the 2018 Games.

Hambantota 2018 has only one competitor for the 2018 games and that is the Gold Coast of Australia. The organizers are hoping that being a new host nation will give Hambantota the edge.

The final decision on the host nation for the 2018 Games will be made at a meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis on November 11th.


Keywords · Hambantota 2018 · Ajith Nivard Cabraal · Commonwealth Games


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