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6 Aug 2014

Zoe’s Glasgow Pics

Zoe’s Glasgow Pics

Author: IMGSTG Admin  /  Categories: News  / 

New Zealand women’s 4x400m team member Zoe Ballantyne enjoyed a wonderful experience at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Here the 22-year-old Aucklander logs her journey through words and pictures.

 
“This is me pictured with Brooke Cull, my training partner, good friend and fellow New Zealand 4x400m squad member at Auckland Airport just about to set off on my Commonwealth Games adventure.

I remember the feeling of pure excitement.

Our families and friends were there to see us depart and I recall going through customs and saying to Brooke, ‘I can’t believe we are actually going to the Commonwealth Games.’

It was such a proud feeling to know we were wearing our New Zealand kits about to represent our country. “  
“After arriving in London we then made the journey on to Cardiff for pre-Games camp. This picture is of the women’s 4x400m squad and Angie Smit. We’d just run a 4x400m at the Welsh International and the photographer was Siositina Hakeai, the discus thrower.

I’d just run a really good split time of 53.9 – which was half a second quicker than I’d recorded at Gold Coast two weeks earlier.

In the picture I was literally jumping for joy. I always feel euphoric after a race has gone well. I enjoyed the city of Cardiff.

The architecture and the old buildings blew my mind.”

 
“This is an image of Scott McLaren (the NZ decathlete) at Glasgow train station with a busker, who had an eye for the men.

We’d been up since 5am and had just come off a three-hour train ride, when we arrived in Glasgow to be met by two buskers, one of whom seemed to take a shine to Scott’s ‘glutes of steel’ as she referred to them.

They were supposed to be dancers, but I didn’t see too much dancing!
This was an image of the women’ 4x400m squad in our official New Zealand blazers at the welcome team function. Rob Waddell (Chef de Mission of the New Zealand team) and Mike Stanley (President of NZOC) made a speech and we then later treated to a bit of a comedy show.

I also remember standing up and singing the national anthem. I recall being so proud. One of the last times I sang “God Defend New Zealand” was at school assembly.

Yet here I was singing it as part of the Commonwealth Games squad along with the likes of Valerie Adams and Nick Willis.
 
  Although Valerie and Nick are superstar athletes it was nice to get to know them a little bit more and realise that they are human too.
Nick introduced himself by saying, “hey, Zoe, how are you going?” I didn’t think he even knew who I was, so that was cool.
I also had breakfast a couple of times with Valerie Adams. I’d had a brief conversation with her up at the gym at Millennium (Institute),but this was the first time I had got to know her properly.
“Katherine Camp, one of our team-mates, had grabbed a picture with world and Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and I don’t mind admitting I was a little jealous.

Shelly-Ann had also trained at Hampden Park stadium that day and she got on to the same bus as us to go back to the village.

I waited for her to come off the bus and asked her for the photo. She agreed.”
 
 
“One of the memories I’ll never forget is the opening ceremony at Celtic Park.

I said to Brooke as we were about to go in to the stadium, ‘I still can’t believe we are here at the Commonwealth Games.’

When the stadium announcer said, 'here comes New Zealand' and the crowd started to roar I had goose bumps from head to toe. I was blown away by what was happening.

I tried to capture as many moments as possible with my phone, but I was taking so many pictures eventually the phone died.

I remember standing with Brooke in the middle of the stadium soaking up the atmosphere of the finale of the opening ceremony thinking these will be some of my most cherished memories.”
“I was at the stadium to watch Zane Robertsonwin 5k bronze on the first day of action.

It was an awesome atmosphere with 30,000 people watching – the most I’d ever previously experienced watching an athletics meet was probably a few hundred at Aussie nationals.

To see Zane – from little old New Zealand – win a medal was cool.

For Zane to enjoy a victory lap as a medallist at a major championship must be the ultimate for any athlete.”
 
  “Waiting for race day was a little tedious – as the heats of the 4x400m didn’t take place until the penultimate day of the track and field programme.
I remember feeling sick on race day weighed down with the extra responsibility of running for a team.

It is one thing to trip and fall in the 400m hurdles (Zoe is New Zealand champion in that event) it is quite another to let a whole team of people down in a relay.

We were preparing to run the final the next day, so it was disappointing not to progress.

However, we ran well as a team and we can’t be too disappointed with setting a New Zealand record.”
“I attended the first half of the closing ceremony. It was cool.

It was a lot more casual and relaxed than the opening ceremony.
  
That night we went back the village and had a couple of drinks to celebrate with Brooke and two of the New Zealand weightlifters – silver medallist Stas Chalaev and Matt Madsen.

I can’t believe the Commonwealth Games are now finally over. It has dominated my life for so long.

I’ve had to sacrifice so much to be here, but it was worth it.”
 

 

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