Businessman replaces sacked Olympian as Gold Coast chief


SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Queensland government has replaced the sacked chairman of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games organising committee with a Brisbane businessman.

Mark Stockwell, who won three swimming medals at the 1984 Olympics, was sacked last week in the wake of a change in the local government, just four months after being appointed.

Property developer and financier Nigel Chamier was on Wednesday put in charge of delivering the 21st edition of the multi-sport Games for mainly former British colonies when the new eight-person board was announced.

Neither new Queensland premier Campbell Newman nor his Commonwealth Games minister Jann Stuckey have explained the decision to ditch Stockwell, who led the successful bid to host the Games but was appointed by the previous administration.

As well as three others drawn from the business community, the board includes Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief Sam Coffa as well as Olympians Perry Crosswhite and Glynis Nunn-Cearns, who won heptathlon Olympic gold in 1984.

"I have every confidence that this eight member board will have the depth of experience and fiscal discipline to ensure this billion dollar landmark event is delivered on time, and importantly on budget," Newman said in a news release.

"My government has an obligation to select the best team possible to deliver a world class Games in 2018.

"I will be making it clear to the new board that they are charged with the successful delivery of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games on time and on budget."

Although surprised by the decision to dump him, Stockwell said the focus should remain on making the event a success.

"I'm passionate about this event of course - I can't just give up on it and walk away," he told ABC news.

"In 1982 I was an usher at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games and I watched the swimmers on the deck and I wanted to be there ... I might be an usher at the opening ceremonies or something like that."

The board still needs to be rubber-stamped by the state's governor before work starts on putting together the necessary infrastructure in the subtropical beachside resort.

Glasgow will host the next Commonwealth Games in 2014.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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