Future of Commonwealth Games 'pretty rosy' - NZ boss

By David Leggat in Glasgow

Kereyn Smith. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Kereyn Smith. Photo / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand Olympic Committee boss Kereyn Smith is predicting "a pretty exciting forum" when the Commonwealth Games Federation meets in Auckland next year.

Having sat through a CGF general assembly in Glasgow today, Smith believes the organisation is in good heart.

"There's a lot of issues on the radar for the CGF and some will culminate in decision-making forums in Auckland," she said.

Among them will be the vote to decide which of the only two candidates to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Durban or Edmonton, gets the nod.

Both made presentations to the assembly today, although they were light on the nuts and bolts of their proposals. That will come in the next few months before the vote.

"Both are very strong bids," Smith said.

"Edmonton is a well established city, and has the resources to do this. It seems to me there was a lot of support and it looks to have the legs for it.

"Durban had a lot of emotional support and there was a feeling the Games need to go to the African continent."

Smith pointed out South Africa has "certainly earned their strips as a major sporting host country" after the rugby, cricket and football world cups.

The Canadian city hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games, but they've never been held in South Africa.

If Edmonton won the right to host the games it would be the sixth time Canada has hosted an Olympic or Commonwealth Games, dating back to the Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario in 1930.

The other four occasions were 1954 (Vancouver, Empire Games), 1976 (Montreal, Olympics), 1978 (Edmonton, Commonwealths) and 1994 (Victoria, British Columbia, Commonwealths).

The 2018 Games will be on the Gold Coast and Smith said it looks like a cracking event.

"It is really exciting. It looks to be a fabulous Games, wonderful venues and the athletes' village looks stunning.

"You can't help thinking the Games foreseeable future is pretty rosy."

There are, however, other aspects which need to be resolved.

There were to be 6,500 athletes and officials in Glasgow; that number has ballooned to about 7,500.

''It was a massive increase and the organising committee is incredibly challenged by what it is confronted with."

Getting more certainty around numbers is a topic that will be nutted out in the coming months, as will a major review of the sports programmes, looking at the merits of sports and their value to the event.

Longtime CGF chief executive, New Zealander Mike Hooper, ended his 14-year association with the organisation.

- NZ Herald

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