Can Rocky host an Olympic event?
MEMBER for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke has once again pushed for Rockhampton to play a part in the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, after the state government submitted a bid for a Queensland-held event.
Despite not yet being named as a potential location for holding games or events, Mr O’Rourke said Rockhampton is perfectly positioned to “reap the benefits of a Queensland 2032 Olympic Games”.
“This will be an Olympics for all of Queensland,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“There’s no doubt Queensland Olympic Games also has the potential to be a boom for tourism and trade in Central Queensland.
“The Premier said yesterday that we’re going to look at how regional areas can best capitalise on a Queensland Olympic Games.
“This is the time for Rockhampton Regional Council to take up the opportunity to further support sports development in Rockhampton.”
Mr O’Rourke said Rockhampton has “world class facilities” within the sports of swimming, hockey and tennis, as well as the perfect spot to host world class rowing events – right on the Fitzroy River.
“I will be continuing to push to have funds distributed here in Central Queensland for additional sporting facilities.”
Queensland Government media spokesman Shane Doherty said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk plans to include all of Queensland in the games.
“The first thing is we have to win the games, prepare a bid, make sure we’re successful and then win them,” Mr Doherty said.
“We still need a tick from IOC. It’s still too early.”
Despite the bid being early in the piece, Rockhampton has been cited as a potential spot for hosting visiting countries and serving as a “training venue”.
“During the last Rockhampton visit, we visited Harrup Park and there’s great interest in doing that venue up,” Mr Doherty said.
“One of the things we talked about is how regional cities and towns will have a role to play in attracting countries to come, as a training venue.
“There are 206 countries and 11,000 athletes. That provides a great deal of scope for cities to bid for countries as a training place.
“Team Great Britain is going to look for somewhere to acclimatise and some places can accommodation entire teams for sports.”
According to Mr Doherty, “anything is possible” when it comes to involvement within the Games.
“Things don’t have to occur in stadiums like they used to. We’re looking for an iconic setting and that sort of thing,” he said.
“Things that will inspire the youth.
“At Rio, they were still put ting turf down on the soccer pitches the night before so if you’re a regional city or town and want to be a part of it, you need to make sure whatever venue you’re offering up will allow the world’s best to perform at their best.
“Rockhampton came up in conversation as a training venue. How else it suits is up for discussion and it’s up to council to make a bid to psotion themselves and go after it.”
On Monday, Cabinet decided to officially pursue the bid and take it to the next level, which will require signing off from the IOC – a decision that will not be made until 2021.
“The Premier wants to use this time to get the ducks in a row, get discussions started like where we will have the opening ceremony and what it will look like,” Mr Doherty said.
Mr Doherty said there is also an opportunity to be involved in other events including the torch relay and cultural events – if not the games themselves.
He said the opportunity to host teams would also be beneficial to local accommodation providers and local businesses who could provide goods and services.