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November 12th, 2011


An outpouring of emotion swept across the crowd as the news sunk in, with strangers hugging each other, united in their joy.

The Gold Coast is to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a predicted injection of $2 billion into the local economy and tens of thousands of jobs to be created.

Pacific Pines local Michelle Davies couldn’t contain her emotions as she described how the win made her feel.

“This is incredible, just incredible, it’s just so exciting,” she laughed.

“I think this is going to be so wonderful for the Gold Coast, it’s going to change the face of this city. We so need this.”

Olympic triathlete and Gold Coast local Courtney Atkinson, who was involved in promoting the bid locally, said the big winners were young kids.

“They’re going to have something to aspire to; get healthy, get active,” he said.

“This will be a big driving force for so many kids. Some will get there, some won’t – but what it will do will get kids hoping, dreaming and striving to be involved in sport.

“Yes this is a fantastic thing for the Gold Coast and is great news for infrastructure (but)…for me, it’s the kids that matter. Sport has been such a big part of my life and taught me so many values. I think it’s amazing that kids on the Gold Coast will have this to look forward to.”

Helensvale State High student James Paviell is one of those aspiring youngsters.

Aged 17, he is already training to go to the World Athletics Championships for 400-metre hurdles and said the Commonwealth Games win would push him even further to achieve his dreams.

“I just can’t believe we’ve got it. It would be a dream to be able to compete in a games being held where I live,” he said.

“This is just so exciting, we were so, so nervous. I just really want to get there.”

Acting Premier Andrew Fraser told reporters the economic benefits to the Gold Coast were priceless.

“When the Commonwealth Games are on it will be the Gold Coast on show to the whole world. We’re about to see the sort of exposure that money can’t buy,” he said.

“This is going to change the future of the Gold Coast. An economic benefit in the order of $2 billion, 30,000 jobs.

“We know that tourism has been struggling underneath the Aussie dollar in recent times, this is a great chance to step forward.

“The trick to the Gold Coast bid was the massive community support.”

However not all of the Gold Coast seems in support of the win. Within minutes of the announcement, websites were inundated with negative comments from locals complaining that the Games were a waste of money and would cause traffic headaches.

Commonwealth Games CEO Perry Crosswhite told Fairfax from the Caribbean that the naysayers were to be expected.

“I’m not quite sure how some people can be so negative at such an exciting time like this but they’re always around,” he said.

“There were people who said the Olympics were bad for Sydney. There’s always a group like this – but what they don’t realise is how good this is for our city.

“It raises such a feeling of pride and i think you’ll find the majority of the people on the Gold Coast will be united on this, realising it puts us on a world stage. No one can take that away from us.”

Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke, speaking from St Kitts in the Caribbean where the final announcement was made, said the overwhelming enthusiasm conveyed by locals towards the Games had impressed visiting delegates deeply.

“That’s a big part of why we won – so many delegates spoke about the obvious passion that the community had for the Commonwealth Games – and I think if there had been a lot of negativity that would have been noticed,” he said.

“These people clamour to be heard but they’re not representative of the Gold Coast.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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