Meet the Kiwi in charge of the Commonwealth Games

Source: 1News

With just three weeks to go before the 22nd Commonwealth Games kick off in Birmingham, England, the spotlight and pressure will be on one Kiwi in particular.

Former swimming medallist Katie Sadlier is the Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive, overseeing the planning of the biggest multisport event in the UK since the global pandemic.

“I would say its massive,” Sadleir told 1News.

“There so many passionate people with all sorts of really interesting projects so I’m trying to make sure they’re all aligned and they’re going in the way that we want to!”

For Sadleir, the Commonwealth Games are in her blood, having won a bronze medal in synchronised swimming in 1986 before using her wealth of experience as an athlete to become a top administrator.

After five years developing the women's game as general manager at World Rugby, she was appointed chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation; the first female in the role.

“I would really like to get to the stage where we don't talk about women being the first,” she said of the milestone.

Instead, she wants to talk about the West Midlands gearing up to host thousands of the world's top athletes and the 1.5 million tickets sold.

However, there’s also some challenges still to come. One being dealing with the different perspectives on Covid coming into the event. In England, coronavirus restrictions don't exist - no masks, no social distancing – as part of the UK government’s plans to live with the virus.

However, for team doctors and sports directors, they want to protect their athletes from a virus that is very much alive.

On top of that, more planned rail strikes could also disrupt the Games but in the face of it all, Sadleir is staying positive.

“I think it's a global event that has significant impact and people will be proud of New Zealand's participation in it.”