Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has congratulated Australia for winning the bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Rajapaksa`s home district of Hambantota was defeated by Queensland`s Gold Coast yesterday at St Kitts, Nevis in the West Indies.
The 71 member nations voted 42-27 in favour of Gold Coast over Sri Lankan city of Hambantota.
Rajapaksa has expressed the belief that his country`s athletes will offer stiff competition in the Gold Coast games, state radio Lakhanda said here.
Sri Lanka ran a massive publicity campaign leading to the bid. The Games bid was projected as `a life changing` one to rebuild Hambantota after the Tsunami devastation of 2004.
The president`s son Namal and the island`s central bank governor Ajith Cabraal co-chaired the bid with highest political backing.
Sri Lankan officials added that the infrastructure development in Hambantota with its new port and airport would be continued despite the games bid loss.