Waikato's Kristie Baillie joins Games team
From Kiwitahi to Cardiff, it's been a huge week for Piako athlete Kristie Baillie.
The 22-year-old gained the final spot in the women's 4x400m relay in the New Zealand team for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games at the 11th hour.
She had earlier been named a non-travelling reserve for the relay team, but last Friday was confirmed by the New Zealand Olympic Committee selectors.
A former Morrinsville College student, coached by Kelly Diprose from Te Aroha Athletic Club, Baillie was a member of the quartet which qualified the team in April for Glasgow.
In announcing Baillie's inclusion, the selectors noted that Monique Dell, who had been pending selection for the relay team subject to form and fitness, had been unable to meet the standard by the deadline of June 30.
Baillie ran a season best time for the 400m at a recent event on the Gold Coast in Australia.
The full team went to Australia as their part of the Games buildup.
"It's been a bit of a whirlwind," Baillie said on Friday after receiving a call from the selectors the previous evening.
"It's all go."
The "hugely excited" Waikato University student trained at Porritt Stadium last Saturday as usual before packing her bags and heading to Cardiff tomorrow.
Her relay team will have two warmup events in the United Kingdom before the Commonwealth Games start in Scotland on July 23.
Baillie was recently named as one of four high-achieving Waikato University students going to Nepal next February as recipients of Step Higher Awards.
The students are all Sir Edmund Hillary Scholars - students who excel academically as well as in sport or in the creative or performing arts and who show strength in leadership.
Baillie, who still lives on the family farm at Kiwitahi near Morrinsville, is in her last year of study for a Bachelor of Social Sciences honours degree.
In 2010 she qualified for the IAAF World Junior Track Field Championships in Canada after winning the national under-19 women's 400m title.
A former head girl at Morrinsville College, Baillie was named Matamata-Piako Junior Sportsperson of the Year in 2011.