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Gillard ‘double-crossed’ by Rajapakse over Games bid

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was allegedly double crossed by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse over speeches made regarding their respective Commonwealth Games bid, at a sports breakfast at the sidelines of the 2011 CHOGM.

The breakfast, hosted by Gillard, was attended by senior officials from across the Commonwealth as well as members of the 71 Commonwealth Games associations will vote towards who will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Australia’s Gold Coast or Rajapakse’s hometown of Hambantota.

Both leaders had agreed, through the Commonwealth Games Federation, to make a “casual speech” and not to overtly promote their nation’s bid.

Ms Gillard welcomed everyone present and briefly mentioned that Australia would put on an “outstanding games” if given the opportunity.

Rajapakse, however, used his whole 10-minute speech to make a rigorous pitch for Sri Lanka saying that it “would be a life-changing event in our history."

See the report from the Sydney Morning Herald here.

Gold Coast bid chief and champion swimmer Mark Stockwell told the Australian Associated Press that it would be an extraordinary coincidence of Sri Lanka were to host both the 2013 CHOGM and 2018 Commonwealth Games.

He told reporters,

“You need the ability to run events, the technical knowledge, volunteers, spectators that want to fill the stands, the ability to deliver major infrastructure and the ability to organise.”

"The one thing the speech from the president said to me is we are in a fair dinkum competition with Sri Lanka.”

"Let's be very clear about this, we are here to compete and I'm here to win.''

The Sri lankan President is yet to comment on the issue.

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