Rick van den Driest says a successful bid for the Commonwealth Games would bring much more than just economic gains.
Rick van den Driest says a successful bid for the Commonwealth Games would bring much more than just economic gains. John Gass

Games excitement building

EXCITEMENT is building in the Tweed as a high-powered Australian contingent have started last-minute lobbying in the Caribbean to secure the 2018 Commonwealth Games for the Gold Coast.

Many Tweed residents are also hopeful the Gold Coast is able to out-bid the Sri Lankan coastal town of Hambantota to host the 2018 Games when the winner is announced on Saturday.

Tweed Seagulls Little Athletics committee member Rick van den Driest said while much of the focus is on the economic boost the event would bring to the region, there were broader benefits.

"I'm a physical education teacher and any sport that encourages people to be active means the benefits are massive," Mr Van den Driest said.

"Like any massive sporting event and people that win gold, there's a boost in our numbers. It will bring a lot of benefits."

Mr van den Driest said the bid came at a time when participation rates were dropping in the track and field club.

"We've had a bit of a drop off from 300 kids last year," he said.

"We have 250 at the moment and we expect a huge boost in participation."

He said some of the young athletes he trains could be the national heroes of tomorrow.

"It's exciting to know that one of the 250 athletes out there every Saturday could possibly be representing Australia on the Gold Coast at the Commonwealth Games.

"There's a possibility in the top three age groups.

"Sally McLellan was running around Southport back in the day."

Mr van den Driest said a win for the Gold Coast would mean a win for the Tweed in terms of sporting infrastructure and participation in sport.

"I'll have my ears glued to hear the news on Saturday," he said.

"We'll be celebrating down at Tweed for sure."

 



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