MEDIA RELEASE
Embargoed until 10am, Wednesday 30 April 2014

WORLD MASTERS GAMES 2017 ‘THREE YEARS TO GO’ MARKED WITH KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS

The all-important dates for World Masters Games 2017 were announced today at an event at AUT Millennium.

During an event to mark the ‘three years to go’ milestone, World Masters Games 2017 Chief Executive Jennah Wootten announced the 10 day event will be held from 21 to 30 April in 2017.  The dates are notable as being in the school holidays and the tourism shoulder season.

“On this day in three years time we will be holding our closing ceremony and reflecting on what will have been the largest sports event to be staged in New Zealand since the 2011 Rugby World Cup,” said Ms Wootten.  

“The dates were selected because they are in the tourism shoulder season which means Auckland will have good capacity to cope with more than 25,000 athletes and  their supporters.  It is also the school holidays which offers opportunities to families to be a part of this global event being held all across Auckland and includes ANZAC Day, another opportunity to do something very special,” Ms Wootten said.

The event was also marked by the announcement of an inaugural group of ambassadors who have agreed to contribute their time to promote the Games to sportspeople here and overseas.

The five inaugural ambassadors, all of whom were in Auckland for the announcement, are Olympic swimming bronze medalist Anthony Mosse, Olympic triathlon gold medalist Hamish Carter, real estate businessman and masters sports disciple Garth Barfoot, former Silver Fern and TV sports presenter Jenny-May Coffin and one of New Zealand’s leading sports administrators, Susie Simcock.

In revealing the inaugural group of New Zealand ambassadors, dubbed ‘our famous five’, Ms Wootten said the group reflects the diversity that is masters sport.

“From weekend warrior to elite athletes, this group of very special New Zealanders represents different sports and age groups but have one common reason for so generously agreeing to support World Masters Games 2017 – they are doing it for the ‘love of sport’”.

Since the Games were first held in Canada in 1985, it has been traditional for each to have a slogan.  ‘For the love of sport’ is the new slogan of the 2017 World Masters Games.

The New Zealand ambassadors are in the illustrious company of World Masters Games 2017 International Goodwill Ambassador Lord Sebastian Coe.  All five ambassadors have said they are seriously considering competing in 2017.  Carter and Coffin will wait until the sports codes for the Games are confirmed before deciding which events to compete in.  Mosse will be targeting a pool comeback, Simcock will look to add to her masters’ games golf medal haul while masters’ legend Barfoot will target “only” three sports – swimming, cycling and triathlon – despite being in the octogenarian age group come 2017.

“Three years to go probably seems a long way out however we are extremely aware of the massive amount of work that needs to be completed to stage the largest event New Zealand will see in a decade,” said Ms Wootten.

Among the announcements to come later this year are the sports programme, comprising a maximum number of 30 sports, and the venues across which the sports will be played.  These milestones follow the announcement in March of leading Auckland real estate company, Barfoot & Thompson, as presenting partner.

President of the International Masters Games Association, Kai Holm, attended the event from Lauanne, Switzerland and said it was encouraging to see the Games in an advanced level of planning three years out.

“We are delighted to be visiting New Zealand for this milestone and to be part of this celebration,” Mr Holm said.  “Each country brings something different to their interpretation of the Games and having had a chance to experience Auckland and visit some of the proposed venues during our trip, we know 2017 will be something special.”

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For further information please contact:

Jill Dryden, Communications Manager – Ambassadors, World Masters Games 2017

Tel: 021 549 576

NOTE:

About World Masters Games 2017

In March 2012 Auckland, New Zealand was awarded the rights to host the World Masters Games in 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 in April 2017 during which time 25,000 athletes will compete in approximately 30 sports across some 45 venues during a 10 day period.  It is expected 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 at least the next decade.  The cost of staging the event in Auckland will be $34 million.  Auckland Council and the New Zealand Government have each approved an $11 million investment with the remaining $12 million to come from revenues including athlete registrations and sponsorship.

For more information visit www.auckland2017wmg.com

About Barfoot & Thompson

Barfoot & Thompson 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.  It consistently sells around one in three homes in the Auckland region and manges more than 11,000 rental properties, well ahead of competitor brands.

For more information visit www.barfoot.co.nz