Olympic gold medallist in NZ athletics squad for CWG

Wellington: Beijing Olympics gold medallist
and reigning world champion shot-putter Valerie Vili was on Friday
named in New Zealand`s first batch of athletes for this year`s
Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"Beijing medallists Nick Willis (1500m) and Valerie Vili
(shotput) are confirmed for the October event as is double
Commonwealth gold medallist Beatrice Faumuina (discus). Beijing Olympians Stuart Farquar (javelin), Adrian Blincoe
(5000m) and Rebecca Wardell (heptathlon) are in the initial
line-up as is Beijing Paralympian Jessica Hamil (F34
shotput)," New Zealand Olympic Committee said in a statement.

The 26-year-old Villi holds the New Zealand, Oceanian and
Commonwealth records for the shot put with a personal best of

She is a two-time Commonwealth Games gold-medallist
fetching the top honours in the 2002 and 2006 editions of the

NZOC Secretary General Barry Maister said the first batch
of athletes to the team are strong medal prospects.

"Athletics is a high profile Commonwealth Sport and we`ve
got a strong team heading to Delhi," he said.

"Legends like John Walker and Peter Snell are born at the
Commonwealth Games and I am excited to see what athletes like
Vili and Willis will achieve in Delhi. These household names
are joined by younger athletes who have exciting futures ahead
of them and the Commonwealth Games are where it all begins,"
he added.

Athletics is traditionally a strong sport for New Zealand
at the Commonwealth Games and since 1930, the Kiwis have won
117 medals at the event.

The next batch of Kiwi athletes is expected to be named
by the end of next month. Team coaches and support staff
selection announcements will be made later this month.

The NZOC also named a twelve-strong gymnastics team to
the Commonwealth Games.

The five men and seven women are led by the men`s
artistic team. The most experienced in the team is Mark
Holyoake, who is aiming for his third Commonwealth Games and
currently holds a Guinness record for the most circles in a
minute on a pommel horse.

Women are represented in both artistic and rhythmic
gymnastics and all selected athletes.

The Commonwealth Games are scheduled October 3 to 14 in
the Indian capital.

The Athletics Teams: Valerie Vili (Shot Put), Nick Willis
(1500m), Adrian Blincoe (5000m), Brent Newdick (Decathlon),
Nikki Hamblin (800m/1500m), Andrea Miller (100mH), Beatrice
Faumuina (Discus), Elizabeth Lamb (High Jump), Monique
Williams (200m), Rebecca Wardell (Heptathlon), Stuart Farquhar
(Javelin), Jessica Hamill (F34 shotput).


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