Only 5 more sleeps until the games are over and we are getting to the pressure end of the competition for many athletes and teams. We are both sitting here watching Val Adams take gold as we write this. This will put our gold tally to ten gold with still four days of competition to go. The NZ team is riding high at the moment as it seems that every hour there is another kiwi doing us proud.
However with the many athletes who are performing and achieving medal performance there are many who have not achieved the goals that they set themselves. The expectations on many athletes are high and when they do not achieve their goal it is disappointing and hard for them to take. For many there has been a life time of dedication and focus into getting to the games and wearing the fern on their chest. But on a blink of a eye it can all be over. All the athletes that are over here have committed thousands of hours into training and scarified many many things to get here. They have had the support of their families, friends and their work to make us proud. It is important that all the athletes are acknowledged for the work that they have done as many do not have the funding that some of the big sports have. There are many athletes who are here using their holidays to get here and losing money to represent NZ.
The hockey teams are both now in the semifinals this week which gives us a chance to get both the boys and girls into the final which would be great. The women are playing against the English which will be a hard game but we have been playing well so all the girls are looking forward to the challenge ahead. The boys are playing India in their semi which should be a great game. The stadium that we are playing in is new and has been purpose built with the crowd very close to the field of play. This creates a exciting atmosphere for all the teams that play there.
We have found that it is important that we focus on the game ahead and not look to playing the final before we get there. Our sole focus is the next game against the English and what we need to do to play well. We have done our game plans to ensure that we have clarity around what we have to do. Our preparation is important now as there are many athletes who have finished competition and they are around the village supporting the kiwis still in action. This is great to see but we have to make sure that we still keep our minds on the job and not get distracted with all the excitement.
The feel good story of the games has been not only Sophie Pascoe winning two golds but also the Scottish 13 year old who came third in the same race that Sophie won gold. This was here first games and was the youngest competitor who stole the hearts of the nation. This has epitomized the feel of the games and the feel good factor. The Scottish people have been amazing and with over 15,000 thousand volunteers here to help. For example they have a hair and beauty salon for the athletes where all the workers are volunteers and you pay a donation which goes to charity.
These games have been a huge success for Team NZ and a stepping stone for many of our athletes moving to Rio in 2 years. This games experience gives our athletes exposure to what it takes to compete at the top and understand what they can expect when they go into a village environment. The environment here is amazing but it is also filled with many challenges and distractions. The more that our athletes can experience this the more they can plan for it leading into Rio. Although some athletes have not got medals many have achieved personal bests while over here which is a amazing thing to do, achieve a PB at a pinnacle event.
The games has also show cased sports that do not get the media exposure that the other sports do. Judo, weight lifting, wrestling, lawn bowls have all achieved medal success. Many of these athletes are doing it for the passion of the competition and to wear the fern on their chest, all inspirational.
We are looking forward to what they next few days will bring.