All the action as the 21st Commonwealth Games got underway on the Gold Coast.

New Zealand's Gold Coast campaign began with swimmer Sophie Pascoe carrying the flag into Carrara Stadium.

New Zealand will be represented by 250 athletes in 18 sports at this edition - including athletics, swimming and bowls para disciplines - making it the country's largest Commonwealth Games team.

Beach volleyball and women's sevens debut on the programme, while basketball returns after a 12-year gap.


The Games are contested by 71 nations, most of whom come from former outposts of Empire.

The event has come together with relative ease… bar the odd exception.

From a New Zealand perspective, sevens player Ruby Tui's contraction of mumps has seen the team quarantined on the Sunshine Coast with further medical checks underway.

A notch up the scale, wrestler Michelle Montague has been ruled out of competition after breaking her leg training in Canada over the weekend. She was due to compete in the 68kg class.

The Commonwealth Games have provided magical New Zealand sporting moments through the years - John Walker unsuccessfully chasing Tanzanian Filbert Bayi down the home straight in the world record-breaking 1500m of Christchurch 1974; archer Neroli Fairhall winning gold in 1982 at Brisbane despite her paraplegia; 14-year-old gymnast Nikki Jenkins becoming New Zealand's youngest gold medallist vaulting at Auckland in 1990.

Medals tend to weigh lighter than those of an Olympics or world championships in the majority of sports, outside rugby sevens, netball and bowls.

More generous selection policies and the absence of the majority of Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, South America and the United States also provide a point of difference.

But so does the emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility for all, encapsulated by para swimmer Pascoe's presence with the flag.


New Zealand athletes also get practice for the Olympics through a multi-sport event broadcast to a cross-section of the world comprising at least 1.5 billion people.

They are often referred to as "The Friendly Games", maintaining sporting and cultural relations under the official feel-good banner of "humanity, equality, destiny".

Perhaps the world needs more of these sorts of Games to begin.