Embargoed until 10am, Wednesday 17 February 2016

Canadian masters basketballer joins World Masters Games 2017 ambassador programme

A 20-year veteran of Canadian masters basketball, Toronto-based Jude Kelly, has today been announced as an ambassador for the World Masters Games 2017, the world’s largest multi-sport event that kicks off in Auckland, New Zealand in just over a year.

Kelly’s appointment was announced by World Masters Games 2017 Chief Executive Jennah Wootten as part of the opening of registrations for the global sporting festival. “We are delighted to welcome Jude to the team. Canada is the second biggest international market for us and Jude’s role as the Canadian representative for the Federation of International Masters Basketball Association (FIMBA) and now as a World Masters Games 2017 ambassador will help us encourage all sport-loving Canadians to take part in the Games.”

As well as becoming an ambassador, Kelly is also one of the first 10 WMG2017 participants to register for the Games. “He joins former New Zealand cricketer and Rugby World Cup CEO Martin Snedden and a mix of fellow sportspeople who represent the diversity of the masters sport movement,” she says.

Kelly says he is honoured to join the WMG2017 ambassadors’ family and he and his Stooges basketball team mates are looking forward to defending the gold medal title (50+ Division) they won in 2013 at the Turin Italy World Masters Games. “New Zealand has been on my destination bucket list thanks largely to the Lord of the Rings films and I can’t think of a better way to combine playing the sport I love and visiting such a beautiful country,” he says.

Basketball is one of 28 sports taking place across more than 45 competition venues during World Masters Games 2017. The minimum age for basketball is age and there are four competition divisions – A Grade Premier, B Grade Competitive, C Grade Recreational and Open. A and B grade age categories are in five year increments from 30 to 60+, C Grade increases in 10 yearly categories from 30 to 60+ and the Open Grade provides competition for men and women 65+, 70+ and 75+. There are three competition venues – North Shore Events Centre for A Grade Premier and B Grade Competitive, AUT University North Shore Campus for B Grade Competitive and Open Grade, and Bruce Pulman Park for C Grade Recreational.

Kelly joins international Goodwill Ambassador, Lord Sebastian Coe, former Olympic bronze medal swimmer Anthony Mosse, two-times Olympic medal winning volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon and two Australians – world squash legend Sarah Fitz-Gerald and the fastest Olympic woman softball pitcher Jenny Holliday – as the internationally-based World Masters Games 2017 ambassadors.

A further 12 ambassadors are based in New Zealand – Hamish Carter, Jenny-May Clarkson (nee Coffin), Garth Barfoot, Susie Simcock, Bryan Williams, Allison Roe, Noah Hickey, Cory Hutchings, Anna Stanley, Nathan Twaddle, Mark Orams and Duane Kale.

“The work our ambassadors do on a voluntary basis on our behalf is invaluable,” says Ms Wootten. “Jude is already hard at work on our behalf spreading the WMG2017 message throughout his Canadian and US contacts.”

Registrations for the Games close 31 January, 2017. Places in some sports are capped, so those interested should act promptly. Information about the Games, the sports, pricing and payment options can be found at


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About World Masters 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. Auckland will host the event from 21 to 30 April 2017 during which time 25,000 athletes will compete in 28 sports across 45 competition venues. The Games are regarded as the largest event New Zealand will host in at least the next decade. For more information visit

WMG2017 seeks to deliver $36 million GDP and 250,000 visitor nights to Auckland’s economy and $53 million GDP and 266,000 visitor nights to the wider New Zealand economy. The Government ($11 million) and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development ($11.75 million) have invested approximately two thirds of the $34.75 million required to stage the event with the other third to come from registration fees ($7.4 million) and commercial sponsorship ($4.6 million).

About Barfoot & Thompson

Barfoot & Thompson is the presenting partner for World Masters Games 2017. It is New Zealand’s largest, privately owned real estate company and is still run by the Barfoot and Thompson families after more than 90 years. Barfoot & Thompson consistently sells around one in three homes in the Auckland region and manages more than 11,000 rental properties, well ahead of competitor brands. For more information visit

About World Masters Games 2017 valued partners

World Masters Games would like to thank its valued partners: Barfoot & Thompson, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), International Masters Games Association (IMGA), Air New Zealand, SKYCITY Auckland, Pita Pit, Volvo Cars New Zealand, NZCT.