Alcohol-free zone at Games village for Kiwis

BOOZE BAN: New Zealand team chef de mission Rob Waddell.
BOOZE BAN: New Zealand team chef de mission Rob Waddell.

New Zealand officials will not follow Australia's lead and allow athletes to drink in the Commonwealth Games athletes village, as they seek to maintain a high performance environment in Glasgow.

It has been New Zealand team policy since the Athens Olympics in 2004 that there is no alcohol consumption allowed in the residential village. There is a bar in the International Zone which team members of a legal age - 18 years - can use, but consuming booze inside the village is a no-no.

"The zone is within the bubble of security, but sits slightly outside the Games Village so you do have to go through security and an accreditation check. That area has been a part of the Comm Games for a long time," New Zealand team chef de mission Rob Waddell said.

Australian Commonwealth Games officials will not follow the lead of their country's Olympic committee and ban Australian athletes and staff from drinking in the village in Glasgow.

Australia's chef de mission in Glasgow, Steve Moneghetti, said a more relaxed approach would be taken at the Games, which start on Thursday.

"We don't have a hard and fast policy [on drinking in the village]. If we need to have a chat, or grab a couple of athletes and have a word to them, we'll do that."

But Waddell the former Olympic champion rower, said there would be no changes from London, as far as New Zealand were concerned.

"Everyone has agreed to a high standard of behaviour and encourage an environment that's all about performance and not having any distractions to that."

In Glasgow there will be several sports - examples being rugby sevens, triathlon and judo - which will be completed by the fourth day, and Waddell said New Zealand's policy was about protecting the high performance environment for competing athletes.

"We sign an agreement with the athletes in which we expect a high level of behaviour, and probably the biggest thing we push is it's about respect - having respect for your team members, those who might be competing, and not creating any distractions. We only want our performance environment enhanced.

"Some athletes who finish early will want to go out and explore the town and we're very mindful of that, and we have our own security processes so we know who is out, where they might be going and when they might be expected back."

Waddell is on his first mission as New Zealand Olympic Committee chef de mission, having taken over from Dave Currie who stepped down following the London Olympics in 2012.

Sunday News