One of Wales’ Olympic Gold medallists has put his weight right behind a bid for Cardiff and South Wales to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
With the BBC having reported on Monday that a bid was being considered, rower Tom James who claimed victory in the men’s coxless four’s race has described as “absolutely fantastic” any suggestion to bid for the games, claiming that it would be the ideal way to build on the success of London 2012.
Arguing that Wales would bring real “passion” to the games he’s quoted in today’s Western Mail as saying:
“I think we’d be very good at it because we’ve got great facilities and hopefully it would help with a bit more re-development down there.
“When you see the success these games have had we’d hopefully see some of that in Wales.
“There’s a very deep-rooted passion for sport and the stadiums would be brilliant. The performances and volunteers would be fantastic and you’d get more songs in the stands, rather than just cheering.
“Maybe it’s a challenge for us to see what we can do and surprise ourselves.”
Pointing out that the cost of hosting the event would be in the “hundreds of millions” of pounds, Anne Ellis, Chef de Mission for Wales at the Commonwealth Games 2006, and the current president of the Commonwealth Games explained:
“We all know that it would be brilliant for the athletes and really good for Wales in an outward-looking perspective, but whether we can afford it and whether we have the volunteers and we have the infrastructure, that’s another matter, and we can only find out by a feasibility study.”
Pressed on the affordability issues she told BBC Wales:
“If it would mean that we were not able to support school sports or closures of swimming pools or grounds anywhere, I think we couldn’t.
“If we could guarantee that school sports would have all the funding they needed, clubs and the infrastructure in Welsh sport would continue to have the money they need to play their sport, and we can guarantee we’re not going to close swimming pools, we’re not going to close playing fields, then I think it would be a runner.
“But we have to look at all sides of it.”
• What will a post-Olympics Britain look like? 27 Jun 2012
Meanwhile, the Scottish government have been urged to reveal the exact date that it intends to honour Scotland’s Olympic heroes.
Whilst ministers have so far pledged an event after the Paralympics finished on the 9 September, no formal date has yet been set despite a number of civic receptions having already taken place across the country.
Dubbing the lack of any date as “odd”, Scottish Labour’s sports spokesperson, Patricia Ferguson said:
“The whole country is desperate to keep the Olympics party going and we want to ensure the Team GB medallists get a great reception when they come home to Scotland.
“The success of the 2012 Olympics is worth celebrating and I would urge the Scottish government to ensure this historic event is given a fitting tribute.
“The medal haul for Team GB has taken even the most optimistic sports fan by surprise, but it would still seem odd the Scottish Government hasn’t announced its plan to mark the occasion when celebrations in other parts of the UK are already in full swing.”
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw went further concluding:
“The SNP is blatantly bitter at Scottish athletes so clearly proud to compete under the Union Jack, and I hope this does not show through in a home-coming welcome conducted through gritted teeth.”