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Last updated: 02 April, 2012 - Published 14:21 GMT
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Continue to bid for mega sports events - minister

Sri Lankan delegation in Saint Kitts 2011
Sri Lanka sent 160 strong delegation to support its bid for 2018 Commonwealth Games

The sports minister in Sri Lanka has vowed to continue bidding for more international sporting events despite the failure to secure 2018 Commonwealth Games in Hambantota.

Sri Lanka lost to Australia’s Gold Coast in Saint Kitts last year, after a lengthy bidding process spending Rs. 880 million.

But Sports Minister Mahindananada Aluthgamage told BBC Sinhala service that it was a “successful bid” but failed to secure enough votes due to “internal politics in the Commonwealth.”

“Our bid was very successful, but the way selection happened favours certain group of countries,” he said.

The minister who initially told BBC Sandeshaya that only Rs. 100 million has been spent for the bid, later admitted that the whole cost amounted to Rs. 880 million.

Expensive campaign

“What I said was that the state only spent Rs. 100 million and we receive the rest from private banks and companies,” said the minister.

Initially minister said state banks also funded the campaign but later retracted the comment.

 Our bid was very successful, but the way selection happened favours certain group of countries
Sports Minister

Minister Aluthgamage, however, did not name the private companies that provided funding for the bid.

He also rejected the suggestion that the country would have faced a serious economic crisis if the Hambantota was granted the Games, especially after Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) faced a financial crisis after co-hosting cricket World Cup.

“SLC was not bankrupt after the WC. It is only the hypocrites who spread that idea.”

He also stressed that rival Australia spent three times as much as Sri Lanka for the winning bid though the Gold Coast’s delegation was only 20, compared to Sri Lanka’s 160 delegates.

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