Games bid pro­posed

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Scott Mor­gan

The first steps are un­der way in a bid to bring the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games to Auck­land.

Of­fi­cers from lo­cal coun­cils are un­der­tak­ing pre­lim­i­nary work with key or­gan­i­sa­tions in the re­gion, be­fore a $325,000 fea­si­bil­ity study, co-funded by cen­tral and lo­cal govern­ment, be­gins next month.

Events Knowl­edge Ser­vice, a con­sul­tant to the Com­mon­wealth Games Fed­er­a­tion, will use the in­for­ma­tion gath­ered to de­ter­mine whether Auck­land is ca­pa­ble of host­ing the event, with a re­port due in Septem­ber.

Auck­land city mayor John Banks says he knows the ben­e­fits an event like the Com­mon­wealth Games can bring, be­cause he was Sports Min­is­ter in 1990 when the games were last held in Auck­land.

“The in­ter­na­tional bo­nanza that year show­cased the very best of Auck­land and New Zealand with huge eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

“The 2018 games will be al­most three times as big and will get three times as many eco­nomic ben­e­fits.”

Mr Banks says a re­de­vel­oped Eden Park could play a huge part, “po­ten­tially form­ing the cen­tre of much of the games”.

But he says the Com­mon­wealth Games are likely to be a sig­nif­i­cantly smaller event com­pared to the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Waitakere city mayor Bob Harvey, who was in­volved in putting to­gether the bid for the 1990 games, says the re­gion is in a much bet­ter po­si­tion to host the event now com­pared with two decades ago.

“We were very ill-equipped to host the games in 1990. We had to build all the in­fra­struc­ture.

“Now it’s a dif­fer­ent world and a dif­fer­ent city. Auck­land must host these games again.”

New Zealand chef-de­mis­sion for the 2010 Delhi games Dave Cur­rie says home ad­van­tage could ben­e­fit Kiwi ath­letes in a num­ber of ways.

“When you’re in your home coun­try, ev­ery­thing is fa­mil­iar. There’s no sur­prises – ath­letes hate sur­prises.

“The cul­ture is the same, the food is the same. The pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing mum and dad in the stand is fan­tas­tic.”

While ath­letes may have to con­tinue to train over­seas in prepa­ra­tion for the games, Mr Cur­rie says it’s not un­usual for ex­tra money to be pro­vided for com­peti­tors from the host coun­try.

“Gen­er­ally more fund­ing is pro­vided be­cause a coun­try wants to do well at its home games.

“That means more money for ath­letes to pre­pare than they might nor­mally have.”

Mr Cur­rie says it would be a “fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity” for Auck­land to host the games in 2018.

The 2014 games will be held in Glas­gow in Scot­land, with an an­nounce­ment on the lo­ca­tion of the 2018 games due in late 2011.

Auck­land will de­cide whether to launch an of­fi­cial bid for the games next Jan­uary.

Other prospec­tive bid­ders in­clude Abuja in Nige­ria, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, Aus­tralia’s Gold Coast and Toronto in Canada.

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