Sun, Nov 11, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Glasgow to host Commonwealth Games in 2014

THE GUARDIAN , GLASGOW

Glasgow is to host the Common-wealth Games in seven years' time after overcoming a powerful and emotional campaign by the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to become the first African city to stage the event.

Intense last-minute lobbying of Commonwealth delegates in Sri Lanka won Glasgow the 2014 games by 47 votes to 24. Alex Salmond, the first minister, was jubilant. He said the city would "make these games the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who called many Commonwealth heads of government to bolster Glasgow's bid last week, linked the result to the London Olympics in 2012 and new efforts to secure the Soccer World Cup in 2018.

"It's looking like a great sporting decade for our country," he said.

The vote bitterly disappointed the Nigerians and many African delegations. With Glasgow clear favorite, South African President Thabo Mbeki had led demands for Abuja to win -- no African city has hosted the Commonwealth Games since they began in 1930, while Scotland has now won the event three times, first staging it in 1970.

joy

In Glasgow, where the result was broadcast live from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, the decision was greeted with screams of delight, cheers and applause by thousands of supporters, including political leaders and Scottish sports personalities including Liz McColgan, the gold medal-winning long distance runner, and Scotland soccer manager Alex McLeish.

Even Nicola Sturgeon, deputy leader of the Scottish National party government, exchanged a fraternal embrace with an old rival, former Labour leader Jack McConnell, as a large crowd at the Old Fruitmarket hall in the city center was showered with multicolored confetti.

But as the crowd began dancing to the Proclaimers' feelgood hit 500 Miles, Scottish political leaders started preparing a cross-party campaign to force Westminster to replace National Lottery money which has been diverted to fund the 2012 Olympics in London.

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