Welcome from the World Masters Games International Goodwill Ambassador Lord Sebastian Coe

As Goodwill Ambassador for the World Masters Games I am delighted to offer my best wishes to Auckland as it prepares to host this prestigious event in 2017.

Edmonton, Sydney and most recently Torino have each played host to the Games over past years, and have experienced the pride that comes with hosting masters athletes from around the world in their cities.

I have no doubt that Auckland, renowned for its scenic beauty and the friendliness of its people, will do justice to the World Masters Games 2017. If the Rugby World Cup 2011 was anything to go by, you’ll deliver a world class sporting event and an entertainment spectacle, and leave us wanting more.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the pinnacle of sporting achievement for the elite athlete. However sporting achievement is for many a lifelong endeavour. Masters athletes compete for the love of sport - for the love of competition, the love of winning, and the love of staying fit in later life.

Sport speaks an international language. Its rules are universal. Its accolades, such as the gold medal, are understood worldwide. To be passionate about sport is to a gift, because through it you learn sportsmanship, discipline, determination and dedication. Masters athletes in turn gift to their children the same lifelong lessons and benefits.

I hope many athletes across the world come to compete in Auckland in 2017. It promises to be an incredible event.