Commonwealth Games England today announced two new appointments to assist Team England ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games; Alex Danson and Dawn Newbery.

Alex Danson, multiple Commonwealth hockey medallist and London 2012 Olympic bronze winner, will represent the views and interests of athletes as the team prepares for Gold Coast 2018. 

Para-sports will be represented by Dawn Newbery, who will draw on over 20 years of experience supporting athletes in six Paralympic Games as Coach, Performance Director and Team Leader. Her place on the board, in this new role, highlights the importance of para-sport within the Commonwealth Games and Newbery will help develop Team England’s unique way of integrating able-bodied and para-sport athletes.

The appointments further strengthen the refreshed Commonwealth Games England board, following the recent announcement of Paul Blanchard as new Chief Executive Officer.

Dawn has recently shared her knowledge with potential first time Paralympic Team Leaders heading to Rio and led wheelchair tennis to historic first time Gold medal winning performances in Athens '04 and Beijing '08. Over many years Newbery has worked with athletes who have successfully made the transition from podium juniors to podium seniors and in London 2012 led the successful Men’s and Women’s Goalball Teams.

Alex Danson has been a member of the England and GB women’s field hockey teams since her England debut in 2001, when she was 16. Widely regarded as one of England’s leading female hockey players, she is GB’s second-highest goalscorer and has won Commonwealth Games medals with Team England on three occasions; silver at Glasgow 2014, bronze in Melbourne in 2006 and bronze at the 2010 Games in Delhi. 

Danson is an experienced Sky Sports Living for Sport Athlete Mentor and this new Team England role will call on her experiences of mentoring athletes and helping them in a multi-sport environment.

Danson has recently been starring in the women’s field hockey World League and helped the team to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Commonwealth Games England (CGE) Chairman Ian Metcalfe said:

“Alex and Dawn bring tremendous insight and experience to Commonwealth Games England. Their opinion on the way the organisation supports its athletes will be hugely beneficial to us from an able-bodied and para-sport perspective. 

“Glasgow 2014 was Team England’s most successful Commonwealth Games in 28 years, with 426 athletes winning 176 medals to top the medal table. The challenge of repeating this level of success in Australia will be extremely difficult, but we are determined to do everything we can to deliver the best prepared team for Gold Coast 2018.”

Alex Danson said: 

“I’m delighted to have been appointed as an Athlete Representative on the Commonwealth Games England Board. I’ve been to three Commonwealth Games in my career, having represented England in Melbourne [2006], Delhi [2010] and Glasgow [2014].

“Multi-sport events are fantastic, but they can be tough. As both a medallist and an athlete returning home ‘empty handed’, I’ve a wealth of experience that I believe can have a positive impact in terms of experience, passion and an understanding of the commitment and determination required for an athlete to have the best possible opportunity to compete, and win medals, at a multi-sport event.”

England Hockey Chief Executive Sally Munday said: 

“I’m delighted that Commonwealth Games England have chosen Alex to be an Athlete Representative for their board. They couldn’t have a better ambassador. Alex has been a fantastic representative and ambassador for hockey over many years now. She’s a role model to the younger generation and I’ve no doubt she’ll do an outstanding job.”

Dawn Newbery said: 

“Team England is a unique mix of able-bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities. I hope to bring considerable experience and knowledge of Paralympic sport to Commonwealth Games England’s first-class operation.”

BPA Chief Executive Officer Tim Hollingsworth said: 

“Dawn has a very good knowledge of what is needed to support high performance athletes in a world-class environment and specifically of the needs of para-athletes.  She’ll bring valuable and respected experience to Commonwealth Games England at a critical time.”

CGE have also recently introduced further new specialist board members as the organisation looks ahead to Gold Coast 2018. 

Marketing expert Jenny Ashmore, financial expert Chris Simpson and English Institute of Sport (EIS) National Director Nigel Walker have been added to the CGE board as new non-executive Directors.