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Sports show strong interest in World Masters Games 2017

19 December 2013

Sports demonstrate strong interest in World Masters Games 2017

Preparations for World Masters Games 2017 in Auckland have reached an early milestone with the closure of the first stage of the sports selection process.

Sports interested in participating had until Friday December 13 to submit their proposals for involvement in the Games. 36 sports have provided a submission.

Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says with just over three years to go, the process of choosing the sports line-up is an immediate priority and brings with it great responsibility.

“Selecting the right sports partners is critical, not just in terms of how we will bring the Games together operationally, but also in how we will represent the spirit and ethos of the global masters movement.

“We are aiming to attract 25,000 athletes from more than 100 countries around the world. Many of these competitors bring with them a long life commitment to competition in sport and are hugely passionate about their involvement in the Games.

“It’s our goal to deliver an event that exceeds their expectations; an event that captures the imagination of New Zealanders so that everyone considers participation, whether as athletes, volunteers or spectators.”

International Masters Games Association Chief Executive Officer Jens V. Holm has added his congratulations. “I’m delighted to see the progress from the Organising Committee. I congratulate them for reaching this essential milestone in a time that will allow a proper evaluation procedure to take place.”

World Masters Games are held every four years. The sporting programme is made up of 16 core sports and up to 14 optional sports as selected by the host nation. Mandatory sports are archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, canoeing/kayaking, cycling, football, hockey, orienteering, rowing, shooting, softball, squash, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting. Optional sports being considered include baseball, diving, surf life saving, lawn bowls, swimming, touch rugby, volleyball, netball and golf amongst others.

“We are thrilled at the response and wish to acknowledge all the sports organisations that have completed bids for the significant time and effort put into their submissions. The process has really shown the depth and quality of the sporting sector in New Zealand,” Ms Wootten says.

“The next step is to consider the bid submissions against a set of criteria as established in the evaluation framework. This will allow us to weigh up many factors fundamental to the success of the Games – from how many athletes are likely to travel to New Zealand to compete, to whether we have the infrastructure and capability necessary to successfully run a world class competition in that particular sport.”

“And in addition to the operational considerations, Auckland as host of the 2017 Games has a unique opportunity to do what we do so well, that is to weave New Zealand and its culture through the entire fabric of the event,” she says.

Ms Wootten says it will take some months to come to a final decision on which sports will feature in the Games.

“There is an evaluation process followed by a period of socialising the recommendations with a number of key stakeholders including the International Masters Games Association. Full confirmation is likely to come in the second quarter of 2014.”

About World Master Games 2017
The World Masters Games is the largest multi sport event in the world. In terms of athlete numbers, it is bigger in scale than even the Olympics. The Games will be held across Auckland for the first time in early 2017. During this time 25,000 athletes will compete in approximately 30 sports across some 45 venues during a 10 day period. It is expected that more than 100 countries will be represented at the event with about half of the athletes, officials and spectators travelling to the country as visitors. It is regarded as the largest event New Zealand will host in the next decade.

The Games is a unique event that is underpinned by a sport-for-all philosophy. Governed by the International Masters Games Association, it is held every four years and is open to sports people of all abilities and most ages with the minimum age limit set by each sporting discipline. Toronto staged the first World Masters Games in 1985. Since then, World Masters Games have also taken place in Aalborg, Aarhus and Herning (1989), Brisbane (1994), Portland, Oregon (1998), Melbourne (2002), Edmonton (2005), Sydney (2009) and Torino, Italy (2013).

The cost of staging the World Masters Games in Auckland will be $33.6 million. Auckland Council and the Government have each approved an $11 million investment with the remaining $11.6 million to come from revenues including registrations and sponsorship. A limited liability company has been established to manage the Games, led by an independent skills-based Board. The Chief Executive of World Masters Games 2017 is Jennah Wootten.

ENDS

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