What do an ex-international cricketer, a Canadian DJ, an Honorary Consul from San Francisco, a former Silver Fern and the man known as ‘Mr Touch’ have in common?
As of February 17th, they’re all competitors in the 2017 World Masters Games (WMG2017), the world’s largest multi-sport event that kicks off in Auckland in just over a year.
“For some people, the World Masters Games is about taking on international competition and winning gold. For others, it’s more about travelling to the host country to celebrate and enjoy sport with like-minded people,” says Jennah Wootten, World Masters Games 2017 Chief Executive
“Right now, not many New Zealanders know about the World Masters Games because we haven’t hosted one before. But we’re hoping about 12,000 Kiwis will step up and join in, because we’re a sporting nation, and sport is what we do so well.”
Wootten says the first 10 athletes hint at the diversity of the Games, “Participants typically range from masters sporting greats, former Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games medal winners, to amateur athletes and teams who are together because they enjoy sport and want to have fun.
“In addition to 12,000+ New Zealanders, we are expecting more than 12,000 international competitors, with half of those coming from Australia. Even though competitors don’t represent their country, there tends to be a great deal of patriotism involved. We hope Kiwis will embrace the Games so that visiting athletes feel our warm welcome but also our competitive spirit!”
Former New Zealand cricketer and Rugby World Cup 2011 CEO Martin Snedden will compete in golf as participant number 00001. He is joined by nine fellow sports-people who collectively represent the first 10 WMG2017 participants:
• Anthony Mosse (Swimming) – U.S. based former Kiwi Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist returning home to enjoy both a social and competitive WMG2017.
• Allison Roe (Rowing) – New Zealand’s athletics golden girl is moving out of her comfort zone into a completely new sport for WMG 2017 – single sculls rowing.
• Duane Kale (Swimming) – four gold medals and four world records at the 1996 Paralympics marked him as one of our greatest para athletes and he will be back in the pool in Auckland.
• Jenny Holliday (Softball) – The fastest Olympic woman softball pitcher and a firm believer in the spirit of sport who will look to roll back the years on the diamond in 2017.
• Peter Walters (Touch) – NZ’s Mr. Touch is a regular winner at masters games in NZ and overseas, a world renowned coaching icon and firm believer in the sport for life ethos.
• Bob Thomas (Football) – his social football team have fronted up at three previous WMG, finally winning a medal last time out and are once again determined to have a ball on and off the field.
• Anna Stanley (Track) – Silver Fern Captain who will lead a 4 x 400 metre track relay team ‘Flabs not Abs’ and is looking forward to the Games’ camaraderie and taking on the Aussies once again.
• Jude Kelly (Basketball) – Canadian masters basketball supremo and DJ who can’t wait to defend his team’s (the Stooges) WMG2013 title in New Zealand, a bucket list destination for him.
• Moira Gerken (Netball) – Southland netballer whose team members have been playing with or against each other for 30 years and are relishing the chance to compete in their first WMG.
The World Masters Games were founded in 1985 with the first held in Toronto, Ontario.
The New Zealand Games feature 28 sports and 45 disciplines with competition scheduled to take place over 10 consecutive days from April 21-30, 2017.
To coincide with registrations opening, World Masters Games 2017 has also announced three new ambassadors. They are well-known para-athlete Duane Kale, Australian softball legend Jenny Holliday and Canadian basketball masters supremo Jude Kelly.
The trio join International Goodwill Ambassador Lord Sebastian Coe and 14 further ambassadors – Hamish Carter, Anthony Mosse, Jenny-May Clarkson, Garth Barfoot, Susie Simcock, Bryan Williams, Allison Roe, Cory Hutchings, Noah Hickey, Anna Stanley, Mark Orams, Nathan Twaddle, Hugh McCutcheon and Sarah Fitz-Gerald.
Registrations for the WMG2017 close January 31, 2017.
For more information, visit www.worldmastersgames2017.co.nz.