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Countdown to the ACC New Zealand Masters Games

January 31 2008

Countdown to the ACC New Zealand Masters Games

7000 competitors, 3000 supporters, 130 volunteers and an expected injection of 5 million dollars into the local economy; Dunedin is gearing up for the largest annual event on New Zealand’s sporting calendar, the ACC New Zealand Masters Games.

Tomorrow 7000 people, the majority aged between 40 to 60 yrs, will march behind their sport code banners into the grounds of the University of Otago to the Games Village. For many it will be the closest they will ever come to experiencing the thrill of belonging to a family of athletes taking part in the pomp and circumstance of an Olympic like ceremony.

When the torchbearer ignites the Games flame they will ignite the spirit of athletic competition and universal friendship that’s at the core of the ACC NZ Masters Games. The flame will burn for the 10 days of competition in 70 different sports, 10 days of medal ceremonies, and 10 nights of Games Village entertainment.

Official Games Ambassador, Dick Tayler, Kiwi Gold Medal winner at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games says “The Masters Games is fabulous witness to that old saying ‘you are never too old to have a go.’ Keeping active and staying healthy is such a positive message. There will be many competitors who are 60 to 90yr+ and they are an inspiration for everyone. I am very excited to be part of it all.”

This will be the 3rd Masters Games that Games Manager, Aaron Joy has organised. “I’ve learnt that anything can happen at the Games. This year we’ve got an 8yr old touch referee and an 82 yr old high jumper. We’ve got 85 netball teams and two track and field competitors from the Ukraine. We’ve got a swag of West Coasters who are coming in their furs for Black Powder shooting and an 91 year old woman who’s going to take her dog on the 5 kilometre walk!”

Competitors are coming from all around the world including the Bahamas, Sri Lanka, India, UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Malaysia and the Ukraine. Australia boasts the largest contingent with more than 200 entrants.

Games Chairman and Dunedin City Councillor John Bezett says Dunedin always performs at its finest when it is called on to be host. “The University of Otago campus creates a perfect setting for the Games Village and our Halls of Residences open their doors to accommodate out-of-towners it couldn’t be better. Our local volunteers generously give their time to make the games happen and of course the legendary spirit of our southern hospitality draws competitors like a magnet.”

ACC continues to be the principal sponsor of the Masters Game, encouraging New Zealanders to be active in sport as they get older and promoting injury prevention messages. Dr Jan White, ACC CEO, in the presence of guest speaker the Minister of Sport , the Hon. Clayton Cosgrove, will officially declare the 19th ACC NZ Masters Games open tomorrow night.

February 1- 10


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