?Fresh on the heels of hosting the Fifth Summit of the Americas and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Prime Minister Patrick Manning is making a bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. T&T is one of three countries which has put forward bids to host the games. The other two are Australia and Nigeria. Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games, made the disclosure yesterday during a press conference at the International Financial Centre, Port-of-Spain. Manning expressed an interest yesterday at a Sports Breakfast meeting which Kalmadi and dignitaries representing the Commonwealth nations attended at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
"In his (Manning) speech he said he would like to be the host of the Commonwealth Games 2018. He made a bid right there in front of all of us," Kalmadi said. Manning's bid follows closely on the summit in April and CHOGM this weekend. When asked what was the main criterion for hosting the games, Kalmadi said a country needs a strong financial backing. "Finance for one. That's the main thing, and then your determination and will to create international class to the world," he said. Kalmadi said he was not surprised by Manning seeking an interest in the games and if he wins the bid, he will give him all the advice and guidance.
"I am very happy for Manning because the game is a unique one," he said. He also advised Manning that should he win the bid he would have a lot of travelling to do. Asked if T&T would be able to prepare for an event of this magnitude, he said, "It depends on your government. If they are ready to come forward or not." The 2010 games, to be held in Delhi, India next October, has already cost India's government US $2 billion. The event is expected to create 2.5 million jobs and will see more than 100,000 tourists gracing India's shores.
The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) in 2008 had given some thought to hosting the Commonwealth Games, said secretary general Brian Lewis. "Our intention was to engage discussion with Sport Minister Gary Hunt and the Government following the Caribbean Games." T&T withdrew from hosting the Games this year as a result of the H1N1virus. Unable to give the cost of hosting the Games, Lewis said to win a bid was not cheap. "If the Prime Minister is of the view it is something he would like to explore, I would think the TTOC would like to have some discussion with him."