Big Commonwealth Games plans for Team England

PUBLISHED: 10:30 09 November 2016

Team England's Athlete Ambassadors for the 2018 Commonwealth Games face the camera (pic Alan Walter/In Press)

Team England's Athlete Ambassadors for the 2018 Commonwealth Games face the camera (pic Alan Walter/In Press)

© Alan Walter -In-Press

Announcement reveals hopes for Australia 2018

Commonwealth Games England (CGE) has announced detailed plans to create the best performance environment for Team England to deliver success for the nation at the 2018 Games in Australia.

As part of its plans to send the best prepared team to the Gold Coast, CGE will hold a Team England preparation camp in Australia, create a performance centre inside the Commonwealth Games Village, offer a full programme of support services, and send a team of around 600 athletes and staff in what will be England’s largest-ever team to represent the nation in an overseas sporting event.

This information comes shortly after Sport England awarded CGE £4million of National Lottery funding to support Team England’s preparation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The team will include around 400 athletes who will compete in 18 sports, including 38 para medal events in what will also be the largest-ever para-sport programme.

The Team England preparation camp will be held prior to the Games in Brisbane, just north to the Gold Coast, and will offer each sport the opportunity to spend up to 10 days acclimatising and training.

Following the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, CGE is working closely with its member sports and will include feedback from both the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association, to gather key learnings from their experiences in Rio and the success of the pre-Games holding camp in Belo Horizonte.

Team England’s preparation camp for the Gold Coast will include a number of specially selected high-performance sports facilities that will enable athletes to continue training and complete their final preparations prior to entering the Commonwealth Games Village.

The preparation camp will include a full team of medical, physio and support staff to ensure that team members benefit from the highest level of support required ahead of the Games.

CGE has also unveiled plans for a dedicated performance centre at the heart of Team England’s headquarters inside the Commonwealth Games Village.

This will provide an enhanced environment in the Village for athletes, coaches and support staff, where the team will have access to dedicated doctors, physios and a full range of clinical, rehabilitation, preparation services, kit, equipment, stretching and R&R areas. This aims to replicate the very successful performance centre which was used in Glasgow.

With 15 months to go until the start of the Gold Coast Games, Commonwealth Games England has also developed a fully-supported Team Leader programme involving representatives from each sport, and led by Chef de Mission Sarah Winckless.

The programme is designed to involve each sport at all stages of the planning and preparation and ensure that the athletes are given every opportunity to perform at their optimum level.

Paul Blanchard, chief executive of Commonwealth Games England said: “Commonwealth Games England is fully focused on creating the best possible performance environment for Team England athletes, coaches and support staff.

“The facilities we are creating for our athletes will give Team England the best chance of delivering more success for the nation at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. We are working closely with sports and athletes to deliver exactly what they need. We believe that they will be the best prepared team to ever represent England at a Commonwealth Games.”

Ian Metcalfe, chairman of Commonwealth Games England, added: “With 18 different sports and around 400 athletes, as well as the largest ever para-sport programme, this is a detailed and complex plan. We know that when it comes to performance, it’s the small advantages and marginal gains that can make the difference between a gold medal and no medal.

“No stone has been left unturned and we have taken learnings from previous Games, what we saw in Rio and feedback from current athletes as well as the thoughts of our President Denise Lewis, our Chef de Mission Sarah Winckless and our gold medal-winning Board member Alex Danson, who between them have incredible experience of multi-sport environments.”

CGE have also launched Team England’s Athlete Ambassador programme, which will see CGE work closely with 30 of England’s leading athletes and rising stars in the build-up to the Gold Coast Games.

The Athlete Ambassadors will support CGE to raise the profile of Team England and its values, develop a strong Team England ethos amongst athletes, the organisation and the nation, and help to prepare Team England for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The programme is led by Denise Lewis, President of Commonwealth Games England and a former Olympic, European and Commonwealth champion.

She said: “The Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of many athletes’ careers. We will support Team England athletes to give them the best possible chance of success in 2018.

“One of the biggest challenges athletes can face is performing in a multi-sport environment, and we will work with this outstanding group of Team England Athlete Ambassadors to ensure that Team England is the best prepared it has ever been for the challenge of a major overseas Games.”

English athletes included in the Athlete Ambassador programme are:

Athletics – Niamh Emerson

Badminton – Lauren Smith

Beach Volleyball – Chris Gregory & Jake Sheaf

Boxing – Frazer Clarke

Cycling – Evie Richards

Diving – Freddie Woodward

Gymnastics – Kristian Thomas & Mimi Cesar

Hockey – David Ames, George Pinner & Sam Ward

Lawn Bowls – Ellen Falkner & Paul Brown

Netball – Joanne Harten

Rugby Sevens – Phil Burgess, Tom Mitchell

Squash – Laura Massaro & Nick Matthew

Swimming – Aimee Willmott & Ollie Hynd

Table Tennis – Will Bayley

Weightlifting – Zoe Smith & Ali Jawad

Wrestling – George Ramm

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