Sport's golden heroes to turn out for royals

02:21, Mar 25 2014
 Sarah Ulmer, Rob Waddell
GOLDEN PAIR: Olympic gold medallists Sarah Ulmer and Rob Waddell will be the official hosts during Prince William and Kate’s visit to the Avantidrome next month.

Kiwi gold - of the sporting variety - will be on show when Prince William and Kate visit the Waikato next month.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be guests of honour at the official opening of Cambridge's Avantidrome on April 12, with a programme of racing planned to celebrate the occasion.

Olympic gold medallists and Cambridge residents Sarah Ulmer and Rob Waddell will host the royal couple and will be accompanied by a line up of sporting stars.

Champion Olympic kayaker Lisa Carrington and gold medal rowers Mahe Drysdale, Eric Murray, Hamish Bond and Joseph Sullivan have confirmed their attendance along with cycling world champions Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell.

They have all been asked to wear the medals they have earned in their respective sports.

Ms Ulmer said she was thrilled by the royal visit and the international attraction it would bring the region.


"What I think is really cool is they [Prince William and Kate] think visiting Cambridge and the Avantidrome is a good way to spend their time," she said.

"The Avantidrome is a world-class facility and it makes sense to put it on a world stage."

Mr Waddell, who is deputy chair of the Home of Cycling Charitable Trust, said the royal visit would generate publicity "money can't buy".

"The Avantidrome will also help showcase what's really great about our community and region because this is a centre of excellence."

The Avantidrome is New Zealand's first Olympic centre of excellence.

Mr Waddell said the celebrations would have "the feeling of an opening ceremony" and feature an element of surprise.

Ms Ulmer expected Prince William and Kate to be interested in the Avantidrome because of Britain's dominance of track cycling at the London Olympics and British riders' success in the Tour de France.

A series of races will be held to celebrate the centre's official opening including a special celebrity race.

But Ms Ulmer quashed any talk of a cycling comeback.

"I'll be far too busy on the day to be dressed in spandex," she said.

About 1500 tickets will issued for the official opening, with about 1000 available to the public.

Meanwhile, the Gallagher Bike Skills Park adjacent to the Avantidrome will be officially opened on April 12.

The park's opening will be held at 4.30pm and features a junior street bike circuit, a mountain bike skills course and a pump track for bmx riders.

Running alongside the skills course is the latest section of the Te Awa River Ride cycleway.

The 3.2km section runs from Cambridge to the Avantidrome and will also be opened on April 12, at 4.30pm. 


To enter the draw to win, write your name, address and daytime phone number on the back of an envelope and send it to: Avantidrome Opening Event Tickets, Private Bag 3091, Hamilton, 3240.

Entries must be received by April 1, 5pm. Winners will be drawn on April 3. 

Waikato Times