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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

Tokyo 2020 #1YearToGo

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Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) have officially marked the one-year-to-go milestone to Gold Coast 2018.

The host city led the celebrations, which began with an early risers breakfast event hosted by several well-known athletes at The Star Gold Coast, one of the Games’ sponsors.

Athletes, including London 2012 Olympic hurdles champion Sally Pearson, were among those to take part and also helped launch the competition schedule and official ticket guide.

The biggest celebration was left to the evening as Australian chart toppers Sheppard and local artists Sunset City performed to a packed crowd at Surfers’ Paradise in the host city.

Gold Coast 2018 mascot Borobi was also a prominent feature of the beachside proceedings, while events were held in Melbourne and Sydney earlier in the day to mark the milestone.

Neighbouring country New Zealand sent a video message to mark the occasion, featuring Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Dame Valerie Adams.

In the video, a shot put with a handwritten message is thrown from North Piha beach, landing in the golden sand of the Gold Coast, with its message “see you soon GC, love NZ” being discovered by Borobi.

“We’re looking at a strong team of proud New Zealand athletes representing us on the Gold Coast this time next year,” said Rob Waddell, New Zealand Chef de Mission.

“The Gold Coast will provide be a top-quality games environment which will see the New Zealand team take on some of our closest sporting friends and rivals.”

“We also expect huge support from Kiwis living in Australia and those travelling from home to the Gold Coast to be also part of the event.”

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) also opted for a video message, with their President Brian Lewis stating they were looking forward to the Games.

“On behalf of TTOC and all of us here in Trinidad and Tobago, we wish you our best wishes and hope you enjoy the celebrations,” Lewis said.

“We are looking forward to representing the red, white and black in Gold Coast next year.”

Commonwealth Games Scotland warmed up for next year’s Games by focusing on beach volleyball, which will be part of the Games programme for the first time.

Their beach volleyball players Lynne Beattie and Melissa Coutts participated in a special event on Portobello Beach in Edinburgh, alongside including hockey player Becky Merchant, basketball’s Sarah Thomson, netballer Claire Brownie, shooter Seonaid McIntosh and rugby sevens player Scott Riddell.

Scotland are expecting to send around 220 athletes to Gold Coast 2018 and are hoping to achieve their most successful overseas Games.

“Scottish athletes from all the different sports love the opportunity to come together as Team Scotland for the Commonwealth Games and we believe our strong team ethos plays a big part in the team’s overall success,” said Jon Doig, Team Scotland Chef de Mission.

“We are aiming to have our most successful ever overseas Games, winning more than the 29 medals achieved at Melbourne 2006, we believe this is a realistic and ambitious target, given that there are largely the same sports as on the 2006 programme and at the same time of year.

“We believe our plans are well on track and already we are seeing some exciting Scottish performances as athletes bid to meet the rigorous selection standards set at top six in the Commonwealth."

Wales have also vowed to achieve their best overseas Games, with their Chef de Mission Nikki Phillips currently visiting Gold Coast to meet with the organisers.

"There's a lot of work that's already happening behind the scenes to prepare Team Wales for the Games, we want to make sure that everything's in place to give our athletes the best possible chance at winning,” she said.

"We've appointed all our HQ staff, we've been working closely with the sports national governing bodies, and arrangements for flights and accommodation are being made.

"Although the Team won't be selected until late this year, we've already started to measure athletes across all sports for kit and paradewear.

"On top of this we're looking forward to sending a squad of our young athletes to the Bahamas Youth Games in July – a brilliant platform to develop emerging Welsh athletic talent for future Commonwealth Games.”

The Queen’s Baton Relay, which was launched last month, spent the one-year to go mark by being taken across Nigeria as it continues its African tour.

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