Dane Bird-Smith says ‘s athletes will revel in the humid conditions on the Gold Coast.’s athletics team believes Queensland’s sub-tropical heat and humidity will give the host nation a huge advantage in returning to the top of the Commonwealth Games medal tally.
England toppled on the medal count for the first time in 28 years at the 2014 Glasgow Games, thriving in the cool conditions and continuing their London Olympics momentum.
The English team finished with 58 gold, nine more than – a massive turnaround from the Delhi and Melbourne Games when the Aussies topped the counts with 74 and 84, respectively.
Gold Coast will provide similarly warm conditions to Delhi and provide a home-town advantage like Melbourne, which was held in March 2006, but with added high humidity.
Olympic walking bronze medallist Dane Bird-Smith, who has been training through a sweltering Queensland summer, believes the hot, muggy conditions will play into ‘s hands.
“There’s going to be a huge advantage,” Bird-Smith told AAP.
“Most of our competitors are coming from the northern hemisphere and they have been sitting up in that icy cold winter.
“Especially the UK guys, and across Canada and America, they have had this unbelievably cold weather where we have had the opposite, except for a lot of rain.”
Recent rain has seen the humidity stay high in the autumn and Bird-Smith, the favourite in the the 20km race walk next Sunday, says the local athletes will revel in the energy-sapping conditions.
“We’re still working through this heat and humidity,” he said. “Hopefully the kind of conditions that are going to turn up on the Gold Coast certainly will throw a spanner in (rivals) works.
“If we can get a bit of heat under these boys it should give all the Aussies a big advantage.”
Athletics head coach Craig Hilliard agreed with Bird-Smith and believes the Gold Coast winds that get whipped up off the surf will also be a big home boost.
The national selection trials were held at Carrara Stadium in February at AA’s request.
“I think that will be an advantage for the running and throwing events, making sure you are in the right spot on the runway or floating the discus or javelin in the right direction,” he said.
“The winds are tricky, they aren’t going in the one direction.”