translated by Brett Larner
On Nov. 22 Athletics New Zealand signed an agreement with the Saga prefectural government to hold its national team training camp in Saga ahead of August's 29th World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan. New Zealand has held pre-games camps in Saga since August last year. Athletics New Zealand representatives were positive about the possibility of holding its pre-2020 Tokyo Olympics camp in Saga as well.
Athletics New Zealand athlete performance support manager Michelle Wood met with Saga governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi. Before last year's Beijing World Championships the New Zealand national team trained in Saga, and Wood had previously visited Saga two years ago. "I felt that Saga was not too big, quiet and with wonderful hospitality that made it feel like home," she told Governor Yamaguchi of the deciding factor in Athletics New Zealand's decision.
Looking toward the future she was positive about the relationship, saying, "I hope to see us return in four years before the Tokyo Olympics." Governor Yamaguchi welcomed the decision, saying, "I hope that our children will have the opportunity to experience athletics firsthand. It will be a priority to maintain our tracks and other facilities."
The World University Games will take place in Taiwan August 19-30 next year. 30 athletes and support staff from New Zealand plan to train at Saga Prefectural Sports Park Field and other facilities from August 5 to 20. Of the potential participation of Rio de Janeiro women's pole vault bronze medalist Eliza McCartney, 19, and other medalists, Wood commented, "The chances are definitely not zero."