New Zealand sports hoping to field sizeable teams at the 2018 Commonwealth Games could be disappointed.

The Games are on the Gold Coast in April that year. New Zealand officials have used past Games as an event to blood potential Olympians.

But trimmings to athlete and official numbers are being introduced to try to cut costs. New Zealand are facing a haircut of about 15 per cent in numbers they can send to the Gold Coast, compared with the past three Commonwealth Games, back to Melbourne in 2006.

Selection policy is likely to mean athletes must have the capability of a top six finish in individual sports, and to win medals in team events.


Teams will constitute four or more members and on the Gold Coast, team sports include two hockey events, two basketball, two rugby sevens and netball.

In Glasgow there was an overspill of athletes in the village, meaning accommodation off site had to be found. Glasgow was a success in several respects for New Zealand - a decent medal haul of 45, nine up on Delhi in 2010 and on a par with Manchester in 2002; and in terms of audience engagement and impact.

But financial imperatives are kicking in. NZ Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith said NZ's quota of athletes would not be known for some time, with the finer points being worked through. After that there could be some gains with other countries opting not to take up their full allocation.

But she has sympathy for sports who view the Commonwealth Games as their major event; that is, they don't figure on the Olympic programme, or their rankings are too low to win selection.

The Commonwealth Games are viewed as a proving ground. That ability is likely to be reduced in 2018.

"We need to talk the sports through the rationale [of the cuts]," Smith said yesterday. "They see it as a pathway where they can blood new young athletes."

Smith called it a "shortening of the tail", or a toughening of the route into the Games programme.

"It is disappointing, given it's a 'home' Games for us," Smith said.

"It is a shame and some sports are anxious about it, and we share their anxiety." David Leggat