Embargoed until 10am, Wednesday 17 February 2017

Legendary Paralympic athlete joins World Masters Games 2017 ambassador programme

Four times swimming gold medalist and world record holder at the 1996 Paralympics Duane Kale 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.

Kale’s appointment was announced by World Masters Games 2017 Chief Executive Jennah Wootten as part of the Local Organising Committee’s registrations opening.   “We are delighted to welcome arguably one of New Zealand’s greatest Paralympic athletes to our group of ambassadors.  Duane is both an outstanding athlete and outstanding administrator as reflected by his roles as Chef de Mission at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and as a board member for Paralympics New Zealand and the International Paralympic Committee.”                                                                                                             
“We are very proud to have put together the largest ever Para-Sport programme in the history of the World Masters Games and Duane is passionate about opportunities to advance Para-Sport so it is a wonderful fit for us all.”

As well as becoming an ambassador, Kale is also one of the first 10 WMG2017 participants to register for the Games.  “He joins former New Zealand cricketer and Rugby World Cup 2011 CEO Martin Snedden and a mix of fellow sportspeople who represent the diversity of masters sports,"  says Ms Wootten. 

 Kale says the opportunity to be involved as an ambassador for World Masters Games 2017 matches perfectly with his belief in the unique ability of sport to create social change.  “The coming together of athletes to a multi-sport event such as the World Masters Games brings a wide range of people into one place with a common purpose. 

 “The values of sport which encourage camaraderie, competition, personal success and growth are ones I am always delighted to be part of and World Masters Games 2017 epitomises these very values,” he says.  

 Kale has registered to compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle swim events which form part of the Para-Sport swimming programme.  Overall there are a total of 11 Para-Sport options for athletes with a disability at the Games in April 2017 including archery, athletics, badminton, canoe, cycling, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming, table tennis, tennis and triathlon.  All Para-Sport options will be fully integrated into the planning and delivery of the overall sports programme and all will have a classification system in place to ensure fair and equitable competition.

Kale joins the 11 ambassadors 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 and Mark Orams. 

There are also six ambassadors based internationally including International Goodwill Ambassador, Lord Sebastian Coe former Olympic bronze medal swimmer Anthony Mosse, two-times Olympic medal winning volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon, two Australians – world squash legend Sarah Fitz-Gerald and the fastest Olympic woman softball pitcher Jenny Holliday, and Canadian masters basketball supremo Jude Kelly.

“The work our ambassadors do on a voluntary basis on our behalf is invaluable,” says Ms Wootten.  “They open doors we simply couldn’t get to through the breadth and depth of their contacts and networks and sheer passion for sport.  Duane’s strong belief in the values of sport are a perfect fit with those of World Masters Games 2017 and we look forward to him spreading the WMG2017 message throughout the international Para-Sport community.” 

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.