1 Jul 2015

Hamblin heads University Games team

10:06 am on 1 July 2015
Nikki Hamblin competing at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Nikki Hamblin competing at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Photo: Photosport

Athletics, with 30 athletes, is sending its largest ever contingent to the Games and swimming is also sending a large team of 16 with Hamblin contesting the 1500m.

She won silver medals in the 201 Delhi Commonwealth Games in both the 800m and 1500m.

The New Zealand Team also includes athletes from table tennis, rowing, fencing and artistic gymnastics.

The World University Games is a major international sporting event that is held every two years for student athletes from around the world.

This year more than 13,000 athletes from 141 countries will be competing in Gwangju for the 28th biennial event.

This compares to around 10,000 competitors from 205 nations at an Olympic Games.

In some sports, the competition fields will be tougher than at a Commonwealth Games as sporting powerhouses such as Russia, China and the United States send teams.

New Zealand Team Chef de Mission Christine Arthur says that for many athletes, the World University Games will be their first experience of competing at a multi-sport, international event.

Some athletes will be aiming to use the Games as a stepping stone towards selection to senior world championships and Olympic Games.

"Competing at the Games is significant, as it closely resembles an Olympic Games,'' Arthur, a two-time Olympian, said.

"For some of the athletes, this will be the pinnacle of their sporting careers and for others it will be a springboard to the Olympic Games.''

At the 2013 Games in Kazan, New Zealand won one medal - a bronze by Brent Newdick in decathlon.

At the 2011 Games in Shenzhen, China, New Zealand's tally was 12 medals, all in swimming.