Sarah Winckless, left, and Paul Blanchard, centre, met Commonwealth Games Minister Stirling Hinchliffe ©Commonwealth Games England

Team England officials have visited Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games venues and inspected the accommodation and training facilities for their preparation camp in Brisbane.

Commonwealth Games England (CGE) chief executive Paul Blanchard was joined by England’s Chef de Mission for the Games, Sarah Winckless, and operations director Louise Bell on the visit.

They were welcomed by Stirling Hinchliffe, Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games, before touring a number of potential training venues in Brisbane.

Plans for a camp in the 10 days leading up to the Games were announced by CGE in November, with the aim of providing high-performance sports facilities and a full team of medical, physio and support staff to aid preparations.

Sport England has awarded CGE £4 million ($5 million/€4.5 million) of National Lottery funding towards preparations for the Games.

Blanchard expressed his delight at the facilities on offer in the city, as the CGE continue their efforts to create the best possible performance environment for their expected team of around 600 athletes and officials.

"The facilities are excellent and we are enjoying visiting ahead of sending our largest ever team for an overseas Games," he said.

"Commonwealth Games England is fully focused on creating the best possible performance environment for Team England athletes, coaches and support staff and we feel that this is achievable in Brisbane next year.

"The facilities that we are creating for our athletes will give Team England the best chance of delivering more success for the nation at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

"We believe that they will be the best prepared team to ever represent England at a Commonwealth Games."

The Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane was one of the venues visited ©CGE
The Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane was one of the venues visited ©CGE

The visit to Brisbane also saw the CGE delegation tour the Anna Meares Velodrome in Chandler, one of two competition venues in the city, along with the shooting centre in Belmont.

They then stopped in Cairns and Townsville to visit basketball venues.

England finished top of the medals table at Glasgow 2014 with a total of 174 medals, including 58 gold, and will hope to repeat their success in Gold Coast.

Hinchcliffe said England would benefit from their 10-day preparation camp before the Games, due to take place from April 4 to 15 next year.

"It gives me great pleasure to announce that Team England will be based in Brisbane for their pre-Games training in March 2018," he said.

"Already a strong competitor, having topped the medal tally at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the team will surely benefit from the additional time spent acclimatising and adjusting to conditions in South East Queensland.

"The economic and tourism benefits of this camp are an example of the legacy which the Games are creating not just on the Gold Coast, but right across South East Queensland.

"The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games provide us with an incredible opportunity to showcase our state and I’m sure Team England’s experience in Brisbane will result in vast benefits for the region."