1 Oct 2010

The New Zealand team at the Games

10:47 pm on 1 October 2010

The XIX Commonwealth Games promises to be a special event for a number of top sportspeople included among the 191 athletes to represent New Zealand.

Valerie Adams (formerly Vili) will be attending her fourth Commonwealth Games as New Zealand's shot put representative. She is the current Commonwealth and Olympic champion in the sport, winning gold in Melbourne in 2006 and at Beijing in 2008. Adams also claimed silver at the 2002 Manchester Games.

Greg Yelavich, competing in his seventh Commonwealth Games, is hoping to add to the tally of 11 shooting medals already claimed, including the two golds won at the Edinburgh Games in 1986.

Beatrice Faumuina returns to international competition for her fifth Games, challenging in the discus. She has won two Commonwealth golds and a silver medal in the sport, and has represented New Zealand at four Olympic Games.

The Aqua Blacks travel to Delhi having already tasted success at the senior and junior Pan Pacific Championships in the United States. Gareth Kean claimed two gold medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke, setting a new national record in the process. Emily Thomas also enjoyed a place on the podium, finishing in a three-way tie for bronze in the women's 50m backstroke at the senior event.

New Zealand has strong chances of podium success in cycling, with Hayden Roulston and Jesse Sergent in peak form. Road racer Catherine Cheatley, fresh from her win of the USA National Series Championships, is also expected to provide a strong contender.

In netball, Commonwealth champions the Silver Ferns have psychological ground to recover after their 2-1 Confederation Cup series loss to in-form Australia in August. Australia's 2006 loss to New Zealand in the Commonwealth finals was the team's first defeat in 12 years at the event.

The Rugby Sevens squad has also been set a tough task - not only to win a medal at the Delhi Games, but to equal their extraordinary record of having never lost a match since the event was introduced at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998. The team features All Blacks - Zac Guildford, Ben Smith and Hosea Gear, and is captained by DJ Forbes.

Cyclist Gary Henderson and tennis player Ellen Barry are the only New Zealand athletes to withdraw from the Delhi Games, citing personal, health and security reasons.

Hillary and Norgay honoured

In Delhi, New Zealand will honour Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay through the squad's theme 29028. The numerals reflect the number of feet climbed by the duo as they conquered Mt Everest in 1953. A silhouetted image of Mt Everest and the number 29028 feature on the squad's black uniform, as well as a silver fern.

Last Games for Maister

The Delhi Commonwealth Games will be the last for New Zealand Olympic Committee general secretary Barry Maister. After 10 years with NZOC, Maister has been appointed New Zealand's 11th member of the International Olympic Committee. He is a former 10-year hockey international who won gold with his teammates at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.