Dame Valerie Adams included in NZ athletics' Commonwealth Games squad

Kiwi shot putter Dame Valerie Adams has been conditionally included in New Zealand's athletics squad for this year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, headlining a 15-strong team for the April games.

Adams, 34, is looking to create history at the games, targeting an unprecedented fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal.

However, Adams' inclusion is provisional, having given birth to daughter Kimoana in October, she will need to first compete at the New Zealand National Championships.

Veteran 1500m runner Nick Willis is another notable inclusion, in what will be his fourth games.

World shot put champion Tom Walsh will be looking to go one better than his silver medal from Glasgow 2014, looking to bring his 2017 form into the new year.

Olympic pole vault bronze medallist Eliza McCartney has also been named, after an injury plagued 2017 that saw her struggle with an Achilles tendon issue.

"This is an extremely strong and exciting team and one which we have very high hopes for on the Gold Coast," said New Zealand Olympic Comittee CEO Kereyn Smith.

"There's a fantastic mixture of athletes and disciplines within this group, ranging from the likes of seasoned campaigners Dame Valerie Adams and Nick Willis to Games debutants such as Cameron French and Brad Mathas. We're also naming three pole vaulters which is a fantastic representation of the growth of this sport within New Zealand."

"New Zealand has won a staggering 127 athletics medals at the Commonwealth Games and I look forward to these athletes adding to our proud athletics legacy on the Gold Coast."

NZ Team:

Shot put: Valerie Adams (conditional), Tom Walsh
20km race walk: Alana Barber, Quentin Rew
10,000m: Camille Buscomb
Pole vault: Eliza McCartney, Olivia McTaggart, Nick Southgate
400m hurdles: Cameron French
Discus: Marshall Hall (provisional)
Javelin: Ben Langton Burnell
800m: Brad Mathas, Angie Petty
1500m: Nick Willis
Hammer: Julia Ratcliffe (conditional)

Watch FULL LIVE COVERAGE of the 21st Commonwealth Games free-to-air on TVNZ from April 4, 2018.

New Zealand's Valerie Adams competes in the Women's Shot Put Qualifying Round
New Zealand's Valerie Adams competes in the Women's Shot Put Qualifying Round Source: Associated Press

Video: 'He's playing' - Etene Nanai-Seturo to play at Hamilton Sevens, despite ongoing Warriors dispute

New Zealand men's Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw is adamant 18-year-old star Etene Nanai-Seturo will play in this weekend's Hamilton Sevens tournament despite the ongoing dramas of a contract dispute with NRL club the Warriors.

Laidlaw said Nanai-Seturo is locked in to play his second Sevens tournament, after an impressive debut in Sydney last week.

"Nah, nah he's playing," said Laidlaw.

"His first start he topped our metres which was unbelievable for a guy that played his first ever start."

Nanai- Seturo was training with the Warriors in 2017 and signed a five-year deal as a 15-year-old.

Warriors CEO Cameron George has criticised New Zealand Rugby for lacking respect.

"There has to be respect amongst codes and I believe we are not being shown that right now," George told Radio LIVE.

"There are a number of parties involved in this but at the end of the day, New Zealand Rugby understood the situation of this gentleman, and to simply go name him in that squad, I believe that was disrespectful."

Watch FULL LIVE COVERAGE of the 21st Commonwealth Games free-to-air on TVNZ from April 4, 2018.

Laidlaw said he won't let the drama and outside noise disrupt his preparations with his team for the home tournament.

"We're excited, I know there has been a bit going on in the background, but like I said whatever day it was my job is to coach rugby, his is to play and other people can sort out the behind the scenes things.

"We expect him to get more game time this weekend and to play really well."

ALL BLACKS SEVENS: 1. Scott Curry – co-captain, 2. Tim Mikkelson - co-captain, 3. Teddy Stanaway, 4. Joe Ravouvou, 5. Luke Masirewa, 6. Vilimoni Koroi, 7. Sam Dickson, 8. Caleb Clarke, 9. Regan Ware, 10. Etene Nanai-Seturo, 11. Joe Webber, 12. Sione Molia, 13. Kurt Baker.

Nanai-Seturo made his debut for the All Blacks Sevens last weekend in Sydney, despite the tug-of-war. Source: 1 NEWS


White Sox begin long road to 2020 Tokyo Olympics at prestigious Asia Pacific Cup

The New Zealand White Sox will begin their long road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when they partake in the Asia Pacific Cup softball tournament in Sydney today.

The team is pushing for one of six qualifying spots in Tokyo as well as preparing for the World Championships later this year.

The White Sox, currently ranked 11th in the world after surging to an all-time high of fifth last year, begin pool play against an Australian All Stars team made up of players pushing for selection to make the national team, the Aussie Spirit.

They then play matches against the world No.4 Spirit, fifth-ranked Taiwan and No.1 Japan before finishing with matches against Italy and China on Saturday.

The top four teams after the round robin will advance to the play-offs on Sunday.

The White Sox are facing un uphill battle though after they were forced to make two late pitching changes to the squad for the tournament.

Both Nyree White and Jennifer Feret-Brear were unavailable to compete due to injuries, meaning America-born New Zealand resident Sammi Parks and Brisbane-based Kiwi Erin Blackmore have been called in to help the squad.

The White Sox's first game against the Australian All Stars begins at 3:30pm.

White Sox outfielder Ancelle van Molendorff attempts a running slap against the Oregon Ducks.
White Sox outfielder Ancelle van Molendorff attempts a running slap against the Oregon Ducks. Source: Debbie Barker Photography