Kiwi Games athletes choose TV over ceremony

MARK GEENTY IN GLASGOW
Last updated 08:37 23/07/2014

Val Adams flagbearer

Ryan Sissons
Getty Images
GOLD FIRST: NZ triathlete Ryan Sissons won't attend the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony as he's competing the next day.

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As many as 100 New Zealand athletes will opt for television in the village over tomorrow's Commonwealth Games opening ceremony for fear of disrupting their big shot at gold.

Newly-named flagbearer Valerie Adams would lead about 130 New Zealand athletes and 70 officials into Celtic Park, where Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle were the headline music acts of the big show.

From the 232-strong New Zealand team, an NZ Olympic Committee spokeswoman said those sitting out included the triathletes, track cyclists, swimmers and men's hockey, most of whom were down to front on day one of competition starting on Thursday night (NZT).

Adams will be one of few of the 22-strong athletics squad marching in Glasgow.

Most of the squad are at a training camp in Cardiff, and US-based hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe, for one, said she would miss the opening ceremony despite the athletics programme not starting till Sunday.

''I'll be arriving in the athletes' village on the 24th - the day after the opening ceremony. I decided to opt out of attending because I did not want any distractions ahead of my competition and I was also mindful that I compete early in the track and field programme so I have plenty of time to enjoy the other sports and attend the closing ceremony after I've competed,'' Ratcliffe wrote on her blog.

Middle distance running brothers Zane and Jake Robertson aren't even in the country yet, with Zane set to arrive from his St Moritz training base on Saturday and Jake from Kenya the day after the opening ceremony.

In past Games, athletes lining up on the early days have shied away from the opening ceremony, with the prospect of being on their feet for several hours in the long wait to march into and around the stadium, then stand in the middle.

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 was competing in 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.

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''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 get the choice as to whether they march.

The Silver Ferns netballers, women's Black Sticks hockey and rugby sevens teams would probably appear, with none in action on day one.

The judokas, weightlifters and rhythmic gymnasts were less likely, with their competitions starting on day one, while the nine-strong shooting team might find it difficult given their base was more than two hours away at Carnoustie.

- Stuff

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