May 28,2014 (ISN) – The kit that will be worn by more than 650 athletes and staff members of Team England at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was unveiled here today in Manchester, where the Games were last held in Britain in 2002.
Seven Team England hopefuls, along with a number of professional models and dancers, took to the specially-constructed stage in The Orient in the Intu Trafford Centre to give a first glimpse at the Team England kit to a soundtrack of thumping music and the cheers of hundreds of shoppers who stopped to take in the show.
Five-time Olympic gold medallist and three-time Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Sir Steve Redgrave joined Team England Chef de Mission Jan Paterson at the launch, and both remarked how fitting it was that the unveiling for this year’s Games was in the city of 2002 host Manchester.
“Today is a fantastically proud moment for everyone at Team England mainly because the partnership we have with Kukri is quite unique as it will be the first time that Team England will go to the Games with a bespoke kit,” Paterson told insidethegames.
“It has been designed in partnership with the Kukri design team and the athletes.
“Today marks the beginning really of everyone coming together as a single team.
“We are just beginning to announce some of the athletes that will be going to the Games and we will continue that process through June and into early July.
“Today is the moment that you actually see the embodiment of a single team coming together, so for us today is a really exciting day.
“We are less than two months from the Opening Ceremony and this only brings it closer to the forefront of our mind.”
Team England hopefuls Louise Wood, Ollie Hynd, Nadia Williams, Andew Willis, Ellen Falkner, Ken Parr and Reiss Beckford were all on hand to model the new kit, which contains the traditional red and white of the St George’s Flag as well as a maroon colour which was requested by athletes who were involved in the design process.
Paterson, who was deputy Chef de Mission with Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, said the close partnership between designers and athletes was a key part of choosing Kukri as the supplier, describing it as a “powerful statement”.
In addition to Kukri, Arena have designed the swimming and diving wear for Team England athletes that will reflect a similar look and feel as the kit supplied by Kukri.
Kukri was chosen as official supplier to Team England in April last year and the Preston-based company’s chief executive, Phil Morris, revealed his pride that a local firm was entrusted to deliver bespoke kit for the more than 650 athletes and staff heading to Glasgow this summer to represent Team England.
“Obviously we are proud of that,” Morris told insidethegames.
“As a business we are local to what England are trying to achieve, we are able to bring manufacturing back to this part of the world and tailor our products to suit these athletes.
“We are incredibly proud and when you sit and talk to Commonwealth Games England and you sell them the vision of what you can deliver, they may be somewhat sceptical that you can actually deliver it.
“But, to have Jan Paterson turn around today and say ‘you have over delivered’, I think we can all be pretty pleased with our efforts so far.
“We have the kit distribution to get through next month [at St George’s Park] which will be new sort of ground for us in terms of delivering kits to that many people, and after that we can sit back a little bit and relax and wait for the Games.
“We have already sized most of the athletes and they will be given their kit based on that and they will try it on, double-check that they are happy.”
Founded in 1999, Kukri supplied England’s kits for the 2008 and 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games.
The firm is well established in the world of rugby union, working with a number of national teams as well as club sides such as Ulster and London Wasps, who are previous winners of the Heineken Cup.
Kukri replaced Adidas, who supplied England’s kit at Delhi 2010, and Morris revealed that the firm has ambitions to mix it with the likes of Adidas, Nike and Puma when it comes to supplying kit and sportswear on the biggest stage of all at the Olympic Games.
“Well I think we have proven that we can kit out teams for multi-sport events and obviously the big one is the Olympic Games,” said Morris.
“I mean it is part of our vision down the line and we would love to be involved with teams for the Olympics, but clearly that is the domain of the very big companies.
“Clearly it will take us some time to achieve it, but over time we would like to think that as we keep building the brand, more countries are going to like what we do and possibly come and ask us if we would be interested in supplying them.”
Team England athletes will now begin picking up their 36 items of kit each at the St George’s Park – English Football Association’s National Football Centre – in Burton from June 18 to 29.
England is expected to have one of the largest delegations at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, which run from July 23 to August 3.