In a social media video featuring Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Dame Valerie Adams and New Zealand’s stunning west coast scenery, a shot put with a handwritten message is thrown from North Piha beach, landing in the golden sand of the Gold Coast.
“See you soon GC, love NZ” is written on the shot put discovered by the Gold Coast 2018 mascot, a brightly coloured koala called Borobi.
The coast-to-coast message signals the start of the one year countdown to the Gold Coast event where New Zealand athletes will take on their Australian and wider Commonwealth counterparts over 11 days of sport, with the opening ceremony taking place on April 4 2018.
The Commonwealth Games event schedule will also be announced today, promising to be the first games featuring equal numbers of medal events for men and women, including for the first time, women’s rugby sevens.
Appropriately for the Gold Coast games location, Beach Volleyball is also on the Commonwealth Games programme for the first time. Men’s and women’s basketball makes a comeback after a 12-year absence.
New Zealand Chef de Mission Rob Waddell, who also led the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Rio Olympic Teams, said he is expecting an outstanding games.
“We’re looking at a strong team of proud New Zealand athletes representing us on the Gold Coast this time next year.
“The Gold Coast will provide be a top-quality games environment which will see the New Zealand team take on some of our closest sporting friends and rivals.”
“We also expect huge support from Kiwis living in Australia and those travelling from home to the Gold Coast to be also part of the event.”
Stage one of the New Zealand public ticket process for the Gold Coast games gets underway today with the Ticket Request Portal for New Zealand residents opening at 0900h at www.nzolympictravel.co.nz
Dame Valerie, who stars alongside Borobi in the video, is in line for her fifth Commonwealth Games and fourth Commonwealth Games gold medal.
“The Commonwealth Games are a fantastic experience," she said. "I’m looking forward to supporting my fellow New Zealand teammates and am hoping to be defending my title on the Gold Coast, too.
“I loved being part of the video, and sending a message from our coast to the Gold Coast as we count down to the games.”
New Zealand’s largest Commonwealth Games team was 249 at Melbourne 2006 and early indications suggest the team to the Gold Coast will exceed this.
Athletes will work towards qualification and selection for the team which will be confirmed between November 2017 and February 2018.
The New Zealand team will be part of a gathering of more than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 Commonwealth nations and territories.
They will aim to compete in 18 sports and 7 para-sports, broadcast to a global audience of 1.5 billion.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) will be the largest sporting event Australia will see this decade and the biggest sporting spectacular the Gold Coast has ever seen.