By Tom Degun
June 7 - Mark Stockwell (pictured), chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 bid team, has revealed that he is fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of rivals Hambantota but that he simply wants to focus on his own bid.
The Australian and Sri Lankan cities are currently locked in a fierce two-horse race to win the right to stage the Commonwealth Games, with a decision on the host city due to be announced at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 this year.
The bid race is now entering a crucial stage with both Bid Books having been submitted last month and the CGF 2018 Evaluation Commission, chaired by Scotland's Louise Martin, set to visit both candidate cities later this month.
However, while Stockwell claims to know all about his rival, he says he is far more concerned about the Gold Coast.
"I'm a big believer in focusing and worrying about the things that you can influence and not stressing about the things that you've got absolutely no control over," Stockwell said on ABC Radio.
"And I've got no control over Hambantota's bid.
"To be honest, I know where their weaknesses are and I know where their strengths are but I don't need to read their Bid Book to know that.
"I think our strengths are the fact that the world sporting community knows that Australia can run excellent multi-sport international events and the experiences of Sydney in 2000 [when Australia successfully hosted the Summer Olympics and Paralympics] and Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games in 2006 are still at the forefront of all the delegates' minds.
"But I just think it is pointless [for me to discuss Hambantota].
"I am in a competition and you might think I'm being a bit flippant but I am just focused on the end game.
"I don't want to talk about their bid; I want to talk about our bid.
"Sorry but that is just the way I am."
Meanwhile the CGF Evaluation Commission is set to visit the Gold Coast from June 20-23, before visiting Hambantota from June 27-30.
The five person Commission will consist of Martin, CGF chief executive Mike Hooper, President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) Gideon Sam, secretary general of the Barbados Olympic Association Erskine Simmonds and executive director of The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) Andrew Ryan.
"Gold Coast City is honoured and proud to be Australia's candidate city and we look forward to the next phase of the bid and welcoming Commonwealth Games Associations to our city," said Stockwell.
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