Glasgow has won the right to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Michael Fennell, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), made the historic announcement on Friday 9th of November during the CGF General Assembly in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The news delighted many thousands of flag-waving supporters all over Glasgow on Friday, and many more thousands elsewhere.
The Games will therefore return to Scotland for the first time since 1970, when they were held in Edinburgh. With the games, will come some of the worlds top athletes; more than 6,500 athletes in total, from 71 countries are expected to come to Scotland.
Alec Salmond, Scotlands first minister, arrived in Scotland yesterday along with the rest of Glasgows bid team. He will make a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, the games strategic committee will meet to map out the next steps, and Glasgow Council leader Steven Purcell will report to his local authority.
Good news for Glasgow’s East End
The games will be held, for the main part, in Glasgows East End which is known as one of Glasgows more deprived areas. Glasgow was once a very industrial city, but lost much of this over the latter part of the 1900’s. In many areas, this was replaced by investment in property or business. However the East side of the city has never benefitted from this, and still has significantly higher rates of poverty, unemployment (and therefore crime) than the rest of the city. Finally, due to the 2014 Games, the East End of Glasgow will receive some much needed, and deserved, attention and funding.
There are already plans in place to regenerate this potentially beautiful part of the city; upgrading existing sports facilities, creating brand new sporting venues, building extra hotel accomodation and improving transport links. Concerning the latter, plans for a £multi-million extension to Glasgow’s existing 111-year old Subway system are firmly on track, according to SPT chairman, Alistair Watson. A major revamp is planned with an extension which will link the SECC with the Commonwealth Games village, in Glasgow’s East End.
Benefits for all of Scotland
But the games won’t just benefit the East End of Glasgow. Glasgow is already the UK’s fifth most popular destination for international travellers. The media coverage from the games alone is set to raise Glasgow’s profile internationally, sending Glasgow even higher up the popularity ladder. With a chance to showcase Glasgow to as many as 1 billion people, it’s a pretty exciting opportunity.
This event has been recognised by Scotlands Tourism industry as a very important milestone. This year, the tourism industry in the UK as a whole suffered as a result of the waning dollar, among other things. Scotlands tourism industry now aim to increase tourism in Scotland by 50% by 2015, something that was unlikely to happen without increased marketing funding in the country. The Commonwealth Games win should help to provide some of these funds.
On top of this, charities such as Asthma Scotland are delighted with the news. In a statement, the National Director of Asthma Scotland, Shona Haslam said:
“We hope that hosting one of the world’s major sporting events in Scotland will inspire thousands of children and young people across the country to start training now to win a gold medal on their home soil.”
As do I. Well done Glasgow!
For more information visit the official Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games site.