Dane Lett in action for the Black Sticks. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Wairarapa will be represented at the Commonwealth Games after Dalefield’s Dane Lett was named in the men’s Black Sticks squad to contest the event.
Lett was informed late last week that he had made the final 18-strong group to head to the Gold Coast, but was only allowed to tell his immediate family before Tuesday’s official announcement.
The group will head to Australia on March 26, with their first match of the games, against Canada, to be held on April 6.
Following that will be further pool matches against South Africa, Scotland and Australia.
Lett is no stranger to the Black Sticks environment, but this will be his first trip to one of the sport’s major global events.
“It was pretty exciting to get the news,” he said.
“It was a special moment and it’s just exciting at this stage — I’m just keen to get involved and it’s something I’ve had my eye on for this year.”
The Black Sticks have won one medal at previous editions of the Commonwealth Games, which was a bronze medal at the 2010 games at New Delhi.
Lett said getting the news he had made the team was a relief, but it was not something he had been losing sleep over.
“I was pretty relaxed — I wasn’t too nervous at all.
“I’d been training hard and knew I had done all I could, so it was out of my hands.
“I just had to let things play themselves out — there’s not too much you can do.”
He is currently in Auckland training with the majority of the squad, although some of the Europe-based players will not join the team until they arrive in Australia.
With a decent amount of time between their arrival in Australia and their first match of the competition, there would be plenty of opportunities to come together as a group.
“We leave on the 26th, and then we have about 10 days of training and a couple of practice matches over there, before we get into our first match,” Lett said.
“We have plenty of preparation time over there, but we’ve got a few guys who are based in Europe at the moment, so it’s about getting everyone together and gelling as a team.”
Lett said he was thrilled with the support he had received from friends and family.
“It is really cool — it’s something I’m pretty proud of, and I know my family and friends are pretty happy and excited at home.
“I’m very proud to represent our little region on the map.”