New Zealand’s ‘Sports Champion of the (20th) Century’, Sir Peter Snell, has confirmed today that he will be a starter at World Masters Games 2017 in Auckland.

Sir Peter (77) will join an estimated 25,000 participants ranging in age from 25 to 101 when he arrives in Auckland for World Masters Games 2017 (WMG2017), the world’s largest multi-sport event, commencing on 21 April next year.

Most famous for his 800m and1500m heroics at the Tokyo and Rome Olympics in the 1960s, Snell’s track days are long over but he’s still as competitive as ever in his chosen sport of table tennis. He and wife Miki will both compete in table tennis at WMG2017.

A keen player of racquet sports since his childhood in Taranaki, Sir Peter has played tennis, badminton, squash and took up racketball when he moved to the United States. Following his collapse on the racketball court six years ago and a subsequent cardiomyopathy diagnosis, he has taken up table tennis with his wife and they play and practice three times a week for two to three hours at a time.

“Both of us are very competitive and like to win, although against the Chinese who have been playing since they were kids, this is tough to do in Texas,” he says.

In typical Snell style, he and Miki have fashioned a winning record, finishing in the top four in the state championship in the 75+ age category and qualifying for the US Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, in June.

“We’re looking forward to competing at World Masters Games 2017 in Auckland. It’s a great opportunity to come back to New Zealand for a visit and the Games’ goal of encouraging participation in sport throughout life reflects our passion 100%,” Sir Peter says.