Nerves come with Adams' flag-bearing honour

NATHAN BURDON AND MARK GEENTY IN GLASGOW
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2014
Valerie Adams
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ
WAVING THE FLAG: Kiwi shot put queen Valerie Adams has been named New Zealand's flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

Celebrating the Commonwealth Games

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It will be an emotional moment for Val Adams when she leads the New Zealand team into the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games this morning.

It is just the second time that Adams has taken part in an opening ceremony at either a Commonwealth or Olympic Games.

''I'm just going to try and enjoy the moment as much as possible," the double Olympic and Commonwealth champion said, of her flag-bearing duty.

"Only a small handful of people are given this opportunity and to be able to be one of them is actually quite humbling. I'm very, very honoured."

After being presented with a whale's tooth pendant that she would wear during the opening ceremony, Adams admitted to having a few nerves..

As many as 100 New Zealand athletes from the 232-strong squad will skip this morning's ceremony at the 40,000 seat home of the Celtic Football Club, rather than risk disrupting their Games preparations.

Adams is expected to lead around 130 New Zealand athletes and 70 officials into Celtic Park, where Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle are the headline acts of the big show.

Among those sitting it out are the triathletes, track cyclists, swimmers and men's hockey, most of whom are down to front on day one of competition, starting tonight (NZ time).

This time, organisers have reacted by providing seats for athletes in the centre as they await all 71 Commonwealth countries to enter the stadium.

Still, triathlete Ryan Sissons said he wasn't taking any chances as he contests the men's medal race early Friday morning (NZT).

"We're unfortunately missing the opening ceremony. I guess it's a smart move, I don't really want to be on my feet for a few hours before racing the next day," he said.

"We'll certainly be watching it on TV. I was lucky enough to be there in London for the opening and it was absolutely amazing then. I'm looking forward to watching it on TV and as athletes you probably see a bit more when you watch on TV, you don't see much when you're having to walk through." New Zealand's athletes were given the choice as to whether they took part in the ceremony. 

The Silver Ferns netballers, women's Black Sticks hockey and rugby sevens teams will probably appear, with none in action on day one. The judokas, weightlifters and rhythmic gymnasts are less likely, with their competitions starting on day one, while the nine-strong shooting team might find it difficult, given their base is more than two hours away at Carnoustie.

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Meanwhile, even at such a formal occasion as yesterday's flag bearer announcement, competition never stops.

New Zealand chef de mission Rob Waddell chose Adams for the flag-bearing duties based on her outstanding record and her inspirational character.

- Stuff

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