Glasgow sets bar high for Gold Coast

Liam FitzGibbon

Four years on from Delhi's lesson in how not to host a Commonwealth Games, Glasgow has shown how it's done.

And Gold Coast 2018 organisers, soaking in the Scottish city's efforts like "thirsty sponges", say they will be able to stage an even better event in four years time.

"We've learnt a heck of a lot here but as Aussies we are fiercely competitive from a sporting sense," Queensland's Commonwealth Games Minister Jann Stuckey said.

"We are on track to deliver what we believe, if I may say modestly, will be the best Games yet."

Delhi's calamitous hosting in 2010 raised questions over the event's long-term sustainability and sparked concerns over its appeal and relevance.

Blighted by poor attendances, corruption and countless other issues with preparations, a report found the Games also cost 15 times initial estimates, running up a bill of $US4.1 billion ($A4.05 billion).

Conversely Glasgow's Games - with a little luck with the weather - have effectively gone off without a hitch.

The event has successfully engaged the city and its people, featured packed and atmospheric venues, all while running under a budget of STG575 million ($A1.05 billion).

It's reaffirmed a "less is more" approach is the way forward for the Games and Gold Coast - boasting many similarities with the Scottish city - is keen to carry it on.

"It's a great model for us to adopt and it's a very similar for us," said Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) chairman Nigel Chamier, one of 14 Gold Coast representatives in Glasgow.

"The population of Glasgow and Gold Coast are very similarly and there are a lot of parallels.

"About 70-odd per cent of the venues were already here in Glasgow and it's exactly the same for us."

Gold Coast's Games will cost an estimated $A2 billion and organisers claim to already be well ahead of schedule on the delivery of venues and infrastructure.

Glasgow placed a strong emphasis on ensuring a lasting legacy from the Games and officials are confident south-east Queensland will feel the lasting benefits of a $A320 million investment in sport and community infrastructure.

The upgraded $41 million Gold Coast Aquatic Centre has already been completed and will be used to host swimming's Pan Pacific Championships later this month.

The Games village is being built in parklands near Griffiths University from next year, with hopes it will become a sought-after residential address beyond the Games.

Carrara Stadium is being upgraded to a capacity of 40,000 to host the opening ceremony and athletics while new venues are being constructed for events such as track cycling.

The sporting program will be similar to Glasgow's with significant changes the dropping of judo, the reintroduction of basketball and the addition of women's sevens rugby.

Officials are confident the Gold Coast 2018 Games will showcase the Commonwealth's best athletes, despite the event's hit-or-miss strike rate with attracting the top echelon of sporting superstars.

Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt was among the high-profile athletes who skipped Delhi, while some have speculated his appearance in Glasgow - in the relay only - only came about because of his multi-million pound sponsorship deal with Virgin, a major sponsor of the event.

GOLDOC chief executive Mark Peters said the decision to stage the event in April was made to fit in best with elite athletes' schedules, particularly those from Africa and the Caribbean region.

There is a possibility other lead-up events will be scheduled in Australia to assist with international athletes' preparations.

"Absolutely, we want the best athletes in Gold Coast," Peters said.

"We want the Usain Bolts and we also want to see a great Australian team that challenges everybody."

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate says the Games will offer such a unique atmosphere, athlete's would be mad not to come.

"Would Bolt want to come to the beach? Well if he doesn't he'd be missing out on a very good Games."

Members of the organising committee have spent the past weeks and months getting a behind-the-scenes look at all aspect of the Games operation.

"We haven't been surprised, which is good for us, but I think the element we've seen most effective here from the organising committee is when there's an issue, they've dealt with it," Peters said.

"No matter how confident you are there will always be issues. They've responded really well and it has been a great Games that has laid a great foundation for the Commonwealth Games into the future."

Glasgow will officially hand over hosting duties during Sunday's closing ceremony at Hampden Park.