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Embargoed until 10am, Wednesday 17 February 2017

Olympic softball pitching legend joins World Masters Games 2017 ambassador programme

The fastest Olympic woman softball pitcher and bronze medalist Jenny Holliday 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.

Holliday’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 such a sporting legend as Jenny to our group of ambassadors. She has an incredibly strong belief in the spirit of sport, reflected in her role as an ambassador for the Sydney World Masters Games 2009."

Australian-based Holliday is also one of the first 10 WMG2017 participants to register for the Games. “She 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.

Holliday says she is excited at the opportunity to promote the World Masters Games 2017 to her softball colleagues in Australia and New Zealand and in other key softball countries. “I have had the privilege of playing with and against many great New Zealand softballers since I first played club softball in Wellington as an 18 year old. One of the things that struck me from way back then was the generosity of sharing among athletes. I learned an enormous amount from the men and women I trained and played with and I hope to see many of New Zealand’s softball legends competing or hanging around the diamonds so the softball community can rub shoulders with them in 2017.”

Softball is one of 28 sports taking place across more than 45 competition venues during World Masters Games 2017. The event is Fast Pitch and has a minimum age of 35 for men and women. Competition will be in three categories – Competitive (35+ and 45+), Recreational (35+ and 45+) and Open (55+). Softball will take place across two competition venues – North Harbour Softball Stadium at Rosedale Park and Rangitoto College, depending on division and age category.

Holliday joins international Goodwill Ambassador, Lord Sebastian Coe, former Olympic bronze medal swimmer Anthony Mosse, two-times Olympic medal winning volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon, fellow Australian world squash legend Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Canadian basketball supremo Jude Kelly 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. “They open doors we simply couldn’t get to through the breadth and depth of their contacts and networks and sheer passion for sport. Jenny is already hard at work on our behalf spreading the WMG2017 message through her Australian, New Zealand and international 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 www.worldmastersgames2017.co.nz

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For further information please email Jill.Dryden@wmg2017.co.nz

NOTE:

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 www.worldmastersgames2017.co.nz.

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 www.barfoot.co.nz.

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.