Commonwealth Games: Double Olympic champ Hamish Bond faces first opening ceremony

  • 04/04/2018

Double Olympic rowing gold medallist Hamish Bond will march in his first-ever opening ceremony on Wednesday night.

He will join almost 200 New Zealand athletes and support staff in the parade of nations at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, with the team led in by flagbearer Sophie Pascoe.

Bond, who teamed with Eric Murray to win gold in the men's pair in 2012 and 2016 Olympics, has switched to the bike and will contest the time trial on April 10 on Currumbin beachfront.

"I've got a few days between the ceremony and my race in the time trial, so I figured this is a great opportunity to march," Bond said.

"I'm sure the Gold Coast will do a good job and it'll be one of those experiences that will stay with me forever, so I'm looking forward to it."

The Kiwis will be the 62nd country to march into Carrara Stadium and are expected to follow para swimmer Pascoe into the arena some time between 10.45-11pm (NZT).

Among those marching will be 18-year-old pole vaulter Olivia McTaggart, who will join weightlifter brother Cameron.

"To be marching out there with my brother at my first Games is really exciting," she said. "I can't wait for the atmosphere and it's going to be a really proud moment for both of us."

Kiwi athletes from men's rugby sevens, swimming, cycling, weightlifting, badminton, beach volleyball, boxing, gymnastics, lawn bowls, shooting, squash, athletics and wrestling will be marching.

An estimated 1.5 billion people will tune in to watch the ceremony, which will feature a celebration of Gold Coast beach life and indigenous culture in a three-hour showcase.

Guests including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be among the 35,000-strong crowd.

A didgeridoo orchestra, ballet dancers from the famous Bangarra dance group and a traditional smoking ceremony will feature as part of a strong indigenous theme running through the ceremony.

Kids wearing surf lifesaver gear and carrying matching pink rescue boards will lead the athletes from the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories into the stadium.

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Join us at 10pm Wednesday for live updates of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.