Kiwis trialling athletes village performance hub

Last updated 05:00 23/07/2014
Kiwi team
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ

WELCOME PARTY: The Kiwi team is welcomed into the village by members of the Glasgow Youth Theatre.

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There's nothing overly special about the Commonwealth Games athletes village in Glasgow. It's big, well resourced and impressive - but so was the London Olympics village, and other Games villages before that.

The most interesting change from previous Games, at least from a New Zealand perspective, is the addition of a performance centre in the Kiwis' area - one officials are trialling with a view to implementing at the Rio Olympics in two years' time.

"It's something that's going to be useful for Glasgow but the ultimate goal is as a trial for Rio," New Zealand chef de mission Rob Waddell says.

"It covers some areas, like stationary bikes, there's a stretching area, a snack area with the right sort of food, and hot-cold treatment as well, which is something that some of the other countries have adopted, so it's good to know we're keeping up and leading the way in some respects.

"We think this will add value for Rio."

The New Zealand Olympic Committee and High Performance Sport New Zealand have partnered in the trial, which will be overseen by nutritionist Jeni Pearce and doctor Bruce Hamilton, and Waddell said there were no "performance expectations" around the centre in Glasgow, which is housed inside, about 10m x 6m in size, and is getting plenty of use.

"It is important to understand how this type of area can add value to team performance with future teams."

Media were invited to view certain parts of the athletes' village but in a change from the London Olympics, Games organisers would not allow press access to individual country areas, citing security reasons.

They did, however, boast that the village "sets a new bar" for Commonwealth Games.

At 35 hectares, it is certainly big. It's the same size as London but not as vertical, so it sprawls, and is at its full capacity with 6800 people staying inside the bubble.

Located on the River Clyde in Glasgow's east end, a stone's throw from Celtic Park - the home ground of the famous Celtic Football Club - and the Emirates Arena cycling velodrome, the village will provide 700 new homes, two-thirds of which will be social housing, with the other third to be sold privately.

All other buildings, such as the many service areas, are temporary and will be taken down after the Games.

There's a small "international zone" which has a bar (Kiwi athletes can drink here but not in the main residential zone), cafe, laundry and salon, while inside the residential zone there is a plethora of athlete services including a gym, separate cardio facility, recovery centre, religion and belief centre (this has separate prayer rooms catering for just about every religion known to man), a recreation centre with TVs and various games.

A key feature is the polyclinic, a medical facility about the size of four tennis courts which caters for everything an athlete could want or need, from pilates and yoga to dental and optometry. It's manned by 45 medical staff at any one time.

The main dining hall is rather impressive. It's open 24-7 and can seat up to 2000 people at any given time. A team of 600 chefs work in shifts to produce a staggering 20,000 meals a day, with cuisine from all around the world on offer.

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Haggis and black pudding, Scottish institutions, are apparently proving to be popular among the world's athletes.

There are also three cafes and a more casual dining centre - BBQ style, much to the delight of the Kiwis and Aussies.

THE ATHLETES VILLAGE - BY THE NUMBERS

35 - size in hectares of the village

45 - staff at any time working in the medical facility

130 - chefs working in the kitchen at any one time

700 - new residential homes created after the Games

6800 - rooms inside the village

20,000 - meals served per day in the main dining hall

- The Press

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