Malaysia takes the vote for 1998

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The Independent Online
KUALA LUMPUR defeated Adelaide yesterday in the vote on where to stage the 1998 Commonwealth Games - only the second time the event has been awarded to a developing country.

The campaign was one of the most acrimonious in history, the Malaysian capital having accused the Australians of trying to buy votes with an offer of travel subsidies. Adelaide claimed Kuala Lumpur had politicised the campaign and kept up the criticism after the 40-25 decision was announced by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

'At the end of the day I think the argument that prevailed was that it was time for a developing nation and Kuala Lumpur demonstrated that they had a capacity and that was sufficient for a majority of delegates,' the South Australian state premier, John Bannon, said. 'Unfortunately, in our view they didn't really come to grips with the actual quality aspects of the Games.'

Alex Lee, the vice-president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, said the margin of the vote reflected the anger felt by delegates over Adelaide's travel scheme, which would have left six countries without free air tickets to the event.

'The message we drove home was that if we have such a strong bid and Malaysia cannot win, then which other Third World country could win, and would any other developing country ever bid?' Lee said.

Except for Jamaica in 1966, the Games have been held only in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and take place in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1994.