The 2018 Commonwealth Games page in Wikipedia recently reported as follows: “On March 31, 2010, a surprise bid was made for the 2018 Commonwealth Games by the Sri Lankan city of Hambantota”.
It was a great surprise as Wikipedia says to the whole world that Sri Lanka; a tiny point in the world map is fighting with Gold Coast of Australia to host one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It will be challenging for Sri Lanka as the Gold Coast is the sixth largest city and the fastest growing region in Australia. It is a city that remains one of the most bio-diverse with bush land, freshwater and marine habitats including 70 km of golden beaches.
Hambantota a city badly hit by the 2004 Tsunami and one of the poorest districts in Sri Lanka is now heading for a complete miracle with major development projects. The winning bidder among the two contestants will be announced in Basseterre, St Kitts on November 11, 2011.
Can Sri Lanka make it?
One can argue that this is too much for Sri Lanka as we have to find about 200 to 250 billion rupees to conduct this event. But in real life there is no harm of thinking BIG. If you are confident about finding this money from investors and if you have a sound plan you should go for it. It’s all about how you fight with your own mind in accepting challenges. Remember taking NO risks will give you a ZERO return.
We may consider this whole exercise of winning Commonwealth games for “Hambantota” as one of the biggest marketing exercises for the country. At the initial stage it has nothing to do with sports administration. This is purely about marketing Hambantota. What value could we add and how we differentiate us will be the key in winning this. Bringing common wealth games to Hambantota may be immensely helpful to promote Sri Lankan Tourism.
It is encouraging to see marketers such as the former President of Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing Mr. Nalin Attygalle behind this. It will be the responsibility of all marketers in our country to come forward and contribute to make this a reality.
If Hambantota can get through it will be a great opportunity for the Sri Lankan youth. There are eight more years for the game and whoever can start today may have a fair chance to hit the medal tally in 2018. It’s all about correct future planning and commitment towards the goal.
If we could think we are no more small and if all Sri Lankans could work towards one common goal we could make 2018 a historic year for our country. In 1996 no one predicted “Sri Lanka” would become World cricket champions. But we beat front runner Australia to win the title. History is possible to repeat.
Marketers: It’s your turn today to make Sri Lanka proud.