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WELCOMING THE COMMONWEALTH TO THE SUNSHINE COAST IN 2018 The region will welcome Games teams who will train and stay on the Coast.


ur great climate, welcoming community and premier sports training facilities ensure that the Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to prepare for the Games. The fact that the Sunshine Coast will host the largest number of athletes training in a region prior to the Games reinforces our Coast’s reputation as a destination of choice for high-performance sports training. More than 500 athletes and officials from nine countries will visit the Sunshine Coast and use our region to prepare for Commonwealth glory. Athletes have started arriving and will continue to set up home bases with their

officials and supporters until early April, as part of their structured preparations for the Games. Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio councillor Jason O’Pray says the Sunshine Coast community will welcome the visiting athletes and officials with open arms. “This is a tremendous honour for the Sunshine Coast as we will host the largest number of teams visiting any Australian region outside of the Gold Coast during the Games period,” Cr O’Pray says. “Sporting associations from overseas put a lot of time and resources into choosing the best possible pre-Games location for their athletes, so for our

region to get the nod from a number of teams is a fantastic show of faith. “An intensive amount of ground work over a two-year period has gone into securing the hosting of the teams on the Sunshine Coast. “The comprehensive logistical challenge of meeting the needs of the teams has been ably managed by a small and dedicated team at council who are gearing up for the team’s arrivals.” Secretary general of the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association Tonia Lushington says the Sunshine Coast ticks all the boxes as a pre-Games destination. “Sunshine Coast Council has been very supportive by sourcing a wonderful selection of training facilities, local transportation support and accommodation options,” she says. “The Sunshine Coast is an ideal location for the Manx team to make their final preparations for the Games in 2018.” Team Scotland Chef de Mission Jon Doig OBE says the Sunshine Coast provides a great range of facilities and the ideal environment to ensure athletes will be well prepared for the Commonwealth Games, where the team will aim to have its most successful ever overseas Games. “The key to Scotland’s success has always been in our planning and preparation and the team camp has always played a vital part in developing our strong team ethos and ensuring everyone is in the best possible shape for the Games,” he says. “We have spent considerable time with all 18 sports, identifying the best possible location for their specific needs. “For the vast majority, the facilities and environment on the Sunshine Coast, and at Novotel Twin Waters in particular, will undoubtedly provide the ideal home away from home for the athletes as they adjust to the travel, climate, culture and the unique multi-sport environment of the Commonwealth Games.” Novotel Twin Waters Resort general manager Warwick Kahl says catering for the

WHO’S VISITING? These are the teams who will train on the Sunshine Coast Australia – rugby sevens and netball New Zealand – rugby sevens (men and women) Scotland – all sports Wales – athletics and swimming England – triathlon Isle of Man – athletics, shooting, badminton, triathlon and lawn bowls Saint Helena – badminton, shooting, swimming and athletics Niue – athletics, weightlifting Singapore – swimming. 32 My Weekly Preview | March 16, 2018

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needs of some of the world’s best athletes is an exciting prospect. “We’ll be providing athletes from Scotland with everything they need to be mentally and physically ready for the Games and we’ll be looking to create a local village feel for the athletes during their stay with us,” he says. Chef de Mission for Team Saint Helena Nick Stevens says he was immediately attracted to the Sunshine Coast for its first-class facilities and beautiful surrounds. “Most importantly we feel our team will be comfortable in this region and we

“It will be a great opportunity for our community to experience all the excitement of the Games” wish for our team and their families to feel relaxed and welcomed when they are not training,” Mr Stevens says. Sunshine Coast Grammar principal Maria Woods says her school is looking forward to welcoming the Saint Helena swimmers, who will train at their newly opened world-class swimming facilities. “It will also be a great opportunity for our community to engage and experience all of the excitement of the upcoming Commonwealth Games,’’ she says. “Many of our school community would not know about Saint Helena and we’re certainly looking forward to learning more about this country and their people.”

FAST FACTS Nine countries are training on the Sunshine Coast There are more than 500 visiting athletes, coaches and officials They will be training in 16 Commonwealth sports 17 community and private sporting venues will be used 18 schools are also involved 10 different sports will be promoted through five public events There will be an estimated economic benefit of $1.6 million to the region There are nearly 5000 bed nights from visiting teams alone 25 community groups will benefit from promotional opportunities.

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FESTIVAL OF CHAMPIONS The Sunshine Coast community is invited to a special Games event.

WHAT’S HAPPENING Here is a list of celebration events taking place across the region. March 25

• 3-7pm – Festival of Champions community welcome event and sports try-out day, Cotton Tree Park • Time TBC – Hockey exhibition match March 26

• 1-8.30pm – Scotland lawn bowls, Coolum Beach Bowls Club March 27

• 10am-5pm – Scotland lawn bowls, Coolum Beach Bowls Club • 4.30-6.30pm – Scotland beach volleyball, Beach Volleyball Mooloolaba Beach • 9.15am – Queens Baton Relay, Kings Beach Caloundra March 28

• 4.30-6.30pm – Scotland beach volleyball, Beach Volleyball Mooloolaba Beach • Time TBC – Hockey exhibition match March 31


o officially welcome our local and visiting international Commonwealth athletes to our great region, the Sunshine Coast Council will hold a free community event – the Festival of Champions on Sunday, March 25. Coast residents are encouraged to pull out a picnic rug and enjoy tasty cultural foods, music, workshops and fireworks. Participants will also have the chance to write a message of support for our local and visiting Commonwealth Games athletes at the special Fan Zone

and have their faces painted in team colours. Plus, there will be the chance to participate in Commonwealth sports including hockey, gymnastics, athletics, lawn bowls, weightlifting, volleyball, netball, basketball, table tennis and rugby. Australian Diamond captain and Sunshine Coast Lightning superstar Caitlin Bassett will be a special MC alongside Hot 91’s Sam Coward. The free community event will be held at Cotton Tree Park from 3pm to 7pm. The event is an inclusive event for all abilities.

• 6-8pm – Scotland basketball, Suncoast Clippers Basketball Stadium, Buderim (This is a ticketed event) TBC

• Rugby sevens come and try community afternoon, Sunshine Coast Stadium. For more information visit


Sixteen Sunshine Coast sporting and community venues will open their doors to visiting Commonwealth Games athletes for training. Many of these sporting venues and associations are actively maximising this opportunity to profile their clubs and venue and grow membership and overall interest in their sport.

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These venues are also leveraging the opportunities of having visiting international athletes train with local talent to inspire future generations of sports stars. Sunshine Coast Hockey Association regional coaching and development director Nathaniel Milevskiy says the local hockey community is excited to be welcoming Team Scotland. “Team Scotland training at our facilities is a great coup for our association,” Mr Milevskiy says. “Our goal is to present the Sunshine Coast Hockey Association to our local community, showcasing our facility and what we have to offer. “More importantly, through the team training here, we show we are open to the world and ready for more teams to visit from around the globe.

“Many of our young talented players are also excited about the unique opportunity to train alongside these elite athletes.” Sunshine Coast Stadium manager Simon Ball says the venue looks forward to hosting the Australian women’s national rugby sevens team, who are the current Olympic champions, at the Sunshine Coast’s premier sporting venue. “The Sunshine Coast Stadium is fast developing the reputation as the place to train and prepare for national and international fixtures,” he says. “Hosting the Australian women rugby sevens provides another great opportunity to showcase our facilities and ability to host high-calibre teams.” A number of the venues will also be hosting exhibition matches with the visiting teams.

VENUES TO HOST TRAINING INCLUDE: • Ballinger Park Hockey Centre, Buderim • Chancellor State College • Maroochydore Basketball Stadium • Club Kawana Bowls • Coolum Beach Bowls Club • Maroochy Beach Gymnastics Club • Nambour Badminton Centre • Nambour Weightlifting Club • North Arm Shooting Range • Shamrock Boxing Club, Maroochydore • Sunshine Coast Badminton Centre, Nambour • Sunshine Coast Grammar School • Sunshine Coast Rec Centre • Sunshine Coast Stadium • University of the Sunshine Coast • Mooloolaba Beach Volleyball Court.

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arch 27, 2018 will go down as a historic date in Sunshine Coast history as the Queen’s Baton Relay passes through

the region. Residents and visitors are being encouraged to get in on the action and show support for the 25 local baton bearers who have been selected to carry the baton in Caloundra. This Games tradition celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride and excites people about the world-class festival of sports and culture that is soon to arrive. The relay started in Australia on December 25, 2017 and the baton will travel 40,000 kilometres, visiting all states and territories, before arriving on the Gold Coast for the opening ceremony on April 4. The Caloundra leg of the relay will start at Queen Street at 9.54am. During the relay, there will be a community celebration at Kings Beach Amphitheatre from 9.15am to 11am, where the public can come together and share the spirit of the relay and the

Games. The baton is expected to arrive at 10.10am. There will be children’s activities, performances by the Gubbi Gubbi Dance Troupe and the national anthem will be performed by Cassi Hilbers. There will also be a collaboration between local artist Mason Hope and national icon Tjupurru. Participants can also write messages and well wishes to their favourite athletes on a special postcard, watch a gymnastics display and try Little Athletics. Mayor Mark Jamieson says council is delighted that Caloundra will be hosting the GC2018 Queen’s Baton Relay. “Hosting the Queen’s Baton Relay is not only an exciting opportunity for us, it’s a way to highlight and promote the beauty of Caloundra to people across Australia and the world who have been following the extraordinary journey of the Queen’s Baton,” he says. “It’s also a wonderful way to celebrate the people that make our community great.” Check for up-to-date information including road closures, bus parking and contact details.

EVENT ROAD CLOSURES This is a major event and road closures will be in place during the relay with delays expected across the area and surrounding streets. Here is how you can access the area: For access to attend the community celebration at Kings Beach Amphitheatre, The Esplanade from Shelley Beach to the Caloundra Surf Club (including the Kings Beach car park) will be open. If you are travelling from Bulcock Beach, you will be able to gain access from Ormonde Terrace until about 10am. If you want a vantage point along Ormonde Terrace, Warne Terrace or The Esplanade Caloundra, most side streets will be open so you can park and walk to your destination. Access to Stockland Caloundra shopping centre will be available from First Avenue or Oval Avenue. If you are heading to Golden Beach, the best access will be from Baldwin Street. On-street parking restrictions will apply to areas along the relay route and around Kings Beach Amphitheatre. For full road closure details visit council’s website. Visit to find

the relay map and see when and where bearers will be carrying the baton. 34 My Weekly Preview | March 16, 2018

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elcoming the Commonwealth project is part of a strategy from the Sunshine Coast Council and key partners, including the University of Sunshine Coast, to position the region as a destination of choice for high performance sports training. The region has built a solid reputation as one of the country’s most desirable tourism and major events regions. Now, it is increasingly recognised as one of Australia’s premier sports training destinations and host to major and international sporting events and teams. From NRL and rugby trials, to AFL pre-season camps, the Coast has welcomed numerous high profile athletes in recent times. And, with national or international standard training facilities for 39 sports on the Sunshine Coast, the region offers excellent training venues for a wide range of sports disciplines. The region’s appeal as a leading sports destination is further strengthened by USC’s Sports Science division, which is the only university accredited with the Australian Institute of Sport. USC Sport manager Nathan Gordon says the collaboration between USC and the Sunshine Coast Council is proving valuable in promoting the region as a sports training destination. “The Sunshine Coast is really building a reputation as a place of choice for high performance training,” he says. “What’s attractive to many of these visiting teams is the convenience of having many facilities in one location and access to some leading professionals in the sports training industry. “We’ve got a great climate, great facilitates and more importantly a team of people who care about making great spaces and a great environment for these high performing teams.” In addition to welcoming high performance athletes to the region, the Coast is producing its own talent. At least 17 USC-based athletes have been selected to

compete at the upcoming Commonwealth Games across the categories of netball, cycling and swimming. Nine USC Spartans and three of the coaching staff have been selected among the cohort. In addition, three Australian Cycling Academy (ACA) Sunshine Coast riders were selected. ACA is a high-performance training academy for up and coming elite cyclists. It is backed by the council and USC. Track specialists Leigh Howard, Sam Welsford and Kelland O’Brien will all compete at the Games as part of the Australian track cycling team. All three are current or former world champions, but it is the first Commonwealth Games selection for the trio. “To have three riders selected and with the Games so close to the team’s University of the Sunshine Coast base, this is really exciting news for us, especially in our first year,” Mr Howard says. “Having such a big competition in your home country is a huge advantage but having the team base just up the road gives us an extra advantage.” Mr Welsford is favoured to medal in the individual pursuit, after becoming national champion in the event last month, beating current world champion Jordan Kirby on the Brisbane track in the final. Meanwhile, 19-year-old O’Brien, is one of the younger members of the Australian cycling contingent and is aiming for a team pursuit berth. He says 2017 was a big year. “I moved up into the elite ranks and went to the senior world champs, and then coming home world champion (in the team pursuit) was unbelievable. It has always been my dream to represent my country at this level, so when we get there I’m expecting a few chills down my spine, but for now it’s just head down so we get there in the right shape to show the world what we can do. “A home Games is something special, and I’m really blown away by the opportunity to get there, but especially being so close to the ACA and USC, it’s going to be a big advantage for us to have a home crowd.”

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NEW ZEALAND One of the most successful rugby sevens teams, the New Zealand national team, will prepare in our region for Commonwealth glory. Training alongside the All Blacks will be the highly successful Black Ferns, who will be competing in the first ever women’s competition at the Games. The teams comprise a total of 40 athletes and support people. New Zealand’s attendance at the Commonwealth Games will be their 21st time competing in the event since their first appearance in Canada in 1930. New Zealand’s most successful Games were in Auckland in 1990, when they won 58 medals overall, including 17 gold and 14 silver.

Sunshine Coast Lightning superstar and Australian Diamond captain Caitlin Bassett. Image: AAP

ISLE OF MAN Isle of Man is bringing 42 athletes and support people to the Sunshine between March 21 and 25. Athletes will be training for sports including shooting, athletics, badminton, triathlon, swimming and lawn bowls. Isle of Man’s first Commonwealth Games were the Cardiff Games in 1958, and they have competed in every Games since. Isle of Man’s strongest event is cycling – the country has won numerous medals in the event, including gold in the men’s scratch race in the Melbourne Games in 2006.

AUSTRALIA The Diamonds Commonwealth Games netball team will polish their preparation on the Sunshine Coast this March for the 2018 Games. Following a one-night stay in the athlete’s village on the Gold Coast, the team of 12 will travel to Mooloolaba on Wednesday, March 28. The Diamonds will return to the village on April 1 to join the wider Australian Commonwealth Games team. It will not be the first time the Diamonds have prepared on the Sunshine Coast after holding a camp in Mooloolaba before the Netball Quad Series in August 2017. The current Olympic champions, the Australian women’s rugby sevens, will also be training in our region. Australia is one of six teams to have competed in every Commonwealth Games since they began and has won a total of 852 gold medals since. Australia has also hosted four previous Games, including Sydney in 1938, Perth in 1962, Brisbane in 1982 and Melbourne in 2006, making the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games the fifth Australian-based event.

ST HELENA ENGLAND Twelve athletes from England’s triathlon team will be pounding the Sunshine Coast pavements and swimming in our crystal waters in preparation for the Games. The athletes will be visiting the Sunshine Coast on March 20 and 27, training in one of Australia’s most well-known triathlon regions. England first participated in the Commonwealth Games in Ontario, Canada in 1930, and have since hosted games in London in 1934 and Manchester in 2002. Their most successful Commonwealth Games was in Glasgow, Scotland, in which the 410-strong team brought home 58 gold medals.

Saint Helena is an island of only 4534 people, situated around 3300 kilometres from South Africa. It is one of the most isolated teams competing in the Commonwealth Games. This year Saint Helena will fly directly from its new airport to Australia, as until 2016 the only way you could access the island was by ship. Saint Helena will compete in their sixth Commonwealth Games and will be training at Sunshine Coast Grammar School between March 20 and 29, preparing for swimming events. They will also be represented in swimming, shooting, badminton and athletics.

SCOTLAND WALES NIUE Niue will be bringing 50 athletes and support people to the Sunshine Coast. Athletes will be training in the sports of lawn bowls, athletics, weightlifting and netball. Niue is a small island located between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands and has not yet won a medal in the Commonwealth Games.

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Almost 60 athletes, officials and supporters from the Welsh athletics and swimming teams will call the Sunshine Coast home for an extended period of time ahead of the Games. Members from Wales will train at the USC sporting facilities from March 18 to April 2. Wales is one of only six teams to have competed in every Commonwealth Games since its inception in 1930. The 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, marked their largest medal count – the team took home 36 medals.

The largest contingent of athletes and officials visiting the Sunshine Coast will be from Scotland. From March 13 to April 3, 215 team members training in 13 different sports will be calling the Sunshine Coast home. Scotland is one of only six countries to have competed in every single Commonwealth Games since its inception in 1930. Their most successful Commonwealth Games was in Glasgow in 2014 in which the team won 53 medals, including 19 gold. All information is correct as at time of printing. However changes to teams and training times is subject to change. My Weekly Preview | March 16, 2018 35

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Commonwealth Games feature  

Welcoming the Commonwealth to the Sunshine Coast in 2018. The region will welcome Games teams who will train and stay on the Coast.

Commonwealth Games feature  

Welcoming the Commonwealth to the Sunshine Coast in 2018. The region will welcome Games teams who will train and stay on the Coast.