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University Games branch out in Wellington

University Games branch out in Wellington

Lawn bowls—once the sporting preserve of New Zealand’s older generation—is one of seven additional sports at this year’s New Zealand University Games in Wellington, in partnership with Victoria University, Victoria University Students’ Association, Wellington City Council, Sport Wellington Region and the New Zealand Community Trust.

More than 2,000 students from across New Zealand’s ten universities will compete in 28 different sports at the Games, which will be held at venues around the Capital from 18-21 April (with the exception of the Games Rowing Regatta which will be held in Wanganui on Saturday 15 April).

Jim Ellis, Executive Director of University Sport New Zealand (USNZ), says introducing the seven extra sports—lawn bowls, beach volleyball, cross country running, canoe polo, inline hockey, shooting, and underwater hockey—keeps the Games up-to-date with contemporary sporting trends.

“We believe it’s important for us to reflect what’s happening on the national sporting scene. Lawn bowls, for example, has become a great success among university students, especially here in Wellington. It also helps that the national champion, Russell Meyer, is only 23.

“Canoe polo, a combination of water polo, basketball and kayaking, is another interesting new sport developing in New Zealand that we really want to support by including in the Games. “


The Uni Games is the second largest annual multi-sports event in New Zealand, next to the Masters’ Games. Mr Ellis said the focus of the Games was on sporting performance rather than socialising.


“USNZ has worked hard over the last 10 years to re-brand the University Games and increase the emphasis on competitive sporting performance.

“Last year, several national talent scouts attended the Games, to search for up-and-coming talent in a range of codes, and from what I’ve heard already, the standard of this year’s Games will be the highest yet.”


With the exception of the Rowing Regatta, the Games will be held entirely in Wellington and will inject a significant amount into the local economy – USNZ estimates that the direct economic impact of the 2005 Games on Auckland’s North Shore was $1.2 million.


Victoria University Team Manager, Brent Hayward, says his squad will be competing hard to bring the famous Games Shield back to Wellington for the first time since 2000.

“This year we get the chance to show off Victoria’s huge local talent pool and the fantastic venues at the University and around Wellington. I believe we’ve got excellent odds of winning the Games.”

For further information contact Executive Director of USNZ, Jim Ellis, or click on http://www.universitysport.org.nz/.

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