NZ team ready for the Pacific Games

New Zealand Team footballers with local children who put on a New Zealand themed welcome for the athletes. Photos: NZOC

New Zealand’s weightlifters, archers and U23 men’s footballers have arrived in Samoa and begun training ahead of the Pacific Games.

The Games are held every four years, with more than 4,000 athletes from 24 nations competing in 27 sports at this edition.

New Zealand Team Chef de Mission Kristy Hill says the athletes are settling into the Samoan climate ahead of competition.

“They’re getting used to accommodation and the venues and the food. Competition starts tomorrow - Monday July 8 - and everyone’s feeling relaxed and ready to perform,” says Kristy.

New Zealand has a team of 54 athletes contesting the Games.

Weightlifting and archery run the first week, while taekwondo and athletics run the second. Football is contested across both weeks.

The temperature has been close to 30 degrees every day and Kristy says processes have been put in place to help the athletes deal with the heat.

“Training is generally being scheduled in the morning and late afternoon to avoid the full heat of the sun and we have chilled water and loads of sunblock on hand.

“The footballers have also found a beautiful swimming hole nearby which they’re using to cool off after training.”

Kristy is expecting some fierce competition when the Games begin.

“It’s going to be tough. The Pacific Games are like the Olympic Games for a lot of these island nations so they’ll bring a lot of energy and we’ve got to be ready to match that.”

The footballers are the first in action, taking on Tonga in their opening match at 4pm on Monday July 8.

Three-cap All White Logan Rogerson will wear the silver fern again at the Pacific Games. Photo: NZOC

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