Oz chief hails landmark Games
02 August 2002
Organisers of the next Commonwealth Games in 2006 admit they have a hard act to follow after calling Manchester 2002 the best ever.
A 30-strong delegation of fact-finders from Melbourne have been in the city all week - and admit they will be copying Manchester's blueprint.
Steve Bracks, the Premier of Victoria of which Melbourne is the capital, told M.E.N. Sport today he has been most impressed by the integration of disabled athletes into the Games, the community spirit and the far-sighted political policies that have ensured Manchester will not be left with an unused stadium.
Mr Bracks said: "These three factors stand out. Manchester has made its mark and changed the Commonwealth Games forever and every country will learn. Manchester has shown how you can get the job done on time, on budget and successfully."
He described as "stunning" how the people of Manchester, in particular, have supported the Games.
He said: "It's been a community event as well as an international event involving a third of the world's population. The challenge is to make it a Games that the community can relate to, and Manchester has excelled."
Mr Bracks added: "The second thing we have learned, and something Manchester has done better than anyone else in the world, is the equal status between able-bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities. That is something we have decided to do in Melbourne after seeing it happen in Manchester. We believe it is leading the world.
"Manchester has shown the rest of the UK, including London, how to do it.
"We are also confident we will put on a fantastic Commonwealth Games."
Mr Bracks, who was at the Manchester Aquatics Centre last night to watch Aussie swimming star Ian Thorpe collect his fourth gold medal of Manchester 2002, said that the Melbourne Games might introduce two sports which have not been showcased in Manchester - rowing and beach volleyball!