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Visit is 2014 Games bid’s critical stage

by Brian Currie

GLASGOW’S bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games is about to enter a crucial stage with the arrival of a delegation whose votes could sway the decision.

Voters from the Oceania region of the Games Federation fly to Scotland for a four-day tour at the beginning of next week as part of the assessment process.

Derek Casey, director of Glasgow’s bid, said he was confident in the package Glasgow had put together to host “a really amazing games”.

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But he added: “The period we are entering now is absolutely critical as the people who will cast their votes in November see for themselves what we can offer.”

Oceania covers the South Pacific and the delegates are from the Cook Islands, Fiji Republic of Nauru Tuvalu Niue, Republic of Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Norfolk Islands and Australia.

They will be given an extensive tour of the proposed venues, presentations on the bid and will meet senior representatives from the Scottish government, the city council and the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland.

They will be followed in the next couple of months by voters from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and the Games Federation’s executive board.

Voters from the European region visited Glasgow in October last year.

Mr Casey added: “Over the past few months we’ve been telling the technical story about how we would order these games.

“Now what we are showing the visitors is just what an extraordinary city Glasgow is and what an exciting and wonderful time the athletes will have here during the Games.”

Glasgow’s rival to host the Games is the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Mr Casey wouldn’t comment on whether he thought the recent spate of kidnappings in the country – including that of three-year-old British toddler Margaret Hill – would influence the vote.

He said: “Our job is to hammer home the message that the athletes can come to Glasgow and be supported by large and enthusiastic crowds who will help them turn in the performance of their life.”

The winner will be declared after a secret ballot of the Games Federation’s 71 members on November 9 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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