By RON FANFAIR
Trinidad & Tobago has expressed an interest in becoming the second Caribbean country to host the Commonwealth Games after Jamaica.
The twin-island republic’s Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, made this known during the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in T & T.
This was the second major international meeting T & T hosted this year, after the Fifth Summit of the Americas in April.
Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee chair Suresh Kalmadi said Manning made the pitch at a sports breakfast meeting last Saturday.
“In his speech, he said he would like to be the host of the Commonwealth Games 2018,” said Kalmadi. “He made a bid right there in front of all of us.”
Asked if T & T would be able to stage an event of this magnitude, Kalmadi said: “It depends on your government if they are ready to come forward or not.”
India will host the 2010 Games while Glasgow in Scotland will stage the multi-sport event four years later.
Australia and Nigeria have also shown an interest in hosting the 2018 Games.
T & T Olympic Committee general secretary Brian Lewis said hosting a Commonwealth Games has been on his association’s radar.
“Our intention was to engage discussion with Sports Minister Gary Hunt and the government following this year’s Caribbean Games,” he said. “The background of a successful Caribbean Games would have given T & T a good argument to be the Commonwealth host. If the Prime Minister is of the view it is something he would like to explore, I would think our Olympic committee would like to have some discussion with him.”
The Caribbean Games, scheduled to be held earlier this year, were cancelled as a result of the H1N1 flu virus.
Jamaica hosted the ninth Commonwealth Games in August 1966. A total of 34 countries competed in track and field, badminton, boxing, cycling, fencing, shooting, swimming, diving, weightlifting and wrestling.