Event Notes: Up To 100 New Zealand Athletes Skip Commonwealth Games Ceremony
As many as 100 New Zealand athletes opted for TV in the village over the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony "for fear of disrupting their big shot at gold." From the 232-strong New Zealand team, an NZ Olympic Committee spokesperson said that "those sitting out included the triathletes, track cyclists, swimmers and men's hockey, most of whom were down to front on day one of competition." Newly-named flagbearer Valerie Adams was "one of few of the 22-strong athletics squad marching in Glasgow." Most of the squad were "at a training camp in Cardiff" (STUFF, 7/23). ... Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Mike Hooper "has defended a decision to ban Welsh boxer Fred Evans from competing in Glasgow after he failed a background check, thought to be due to his involvement in a nightclub assault." Evans, a welterweight Silver Medalist at the London Olympics, "was a strong gold medal hope for the Welsh" but will not take part after the decision from Commonwealth Games officials and the Home Office. Welsh Chef de Mission Brian Davies said he had been left "bitterly disappointed" at the outcome and Evans had been preparing in the hope he would be able to fight (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/23). ... Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse's office said Tuesday that he "will skip the Commonwealth Games starting this week in Glasgow despite being chair of the bloc," after activists threatened to protest at his attendance. Rajapakse's spokesperson Mohan Samaranayake denied that "he had decided to stay away because of the threat of demonstrations over Colombo's alleged human rights abuses." Samaranayake: "No such visit was scheduled" (AFP, 7/22). ... Four members of Sri Lanka’s Commonwealth Games team "sparked a police response after going for a bicycle ride down one of Scotland’s busiest stretches of motorway." The Glasgow 2014 athletes were spotted cycling down the M74 before police intervened and "informed them they were breaking the law" (PA, 7/23). ... The T20 Big Bash League entered a partnership with FELD Entertainment for its Monster Jam Tour in September and October. FELD's partnership with the BBL will extend the league's presence beyond the traditional cricket season (BBL).