The World Masters Games 2017 is coming to Auckland. Here are ten very good reasons why you would want to participate

1 - Amazing Venues

Some 45 venues across the Auckland region and the Waikato will host events at the World Masters Games 2017. From beaches to parks, forests to lakes and world-class stadia the city and beyond will showcase a range of attractive locations for playing sport. Some of the highlights include the state-of-the-art Sir Owen Glenn National Aquatic Centre at AUT Millennium, which will host the swimming, and the stunning Avantidrome in Cambridge – home of the track cycling. Mountain bikers will also love the chance to compete at the iconic Woodhill Forest venue.

2 - Auckland Attractions

Photo courtesy Chris Williams, Red Blossoms

Combining unique natural beauty with urban cool the city of Auckland is worth exploring.  Boasting dozens of beautiful beaches all within half-an-hour’s drive and a cityscape dotted with 48 volcanic cones, “The City of Sails” boasts a unique and unrivalled geography. Add into the mix a sunny climate, passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping and the background rhythm of a Polynesian culture and you see why all participants will fully embrace the experience.

As three-times Commonwealth Games lawn bowls medallist Marlene Castle and potential participant says: “Auckland is an amazing city, particularly if we are able to turn on some great weather.”

3 – Keep fit and healthy

The fitness benefits of participating in a sport at World Masters Games 2017 are of huge importance. Take the case of former Commonwealth Games swimmer Richard Lockhart, who following retirement from the sport piled on 15kg in weight and suffered a deterioration in his asthma. However, since returning to masters swimming more than ten years ago, the Aucklander’s health has undergone a transformation.

“The fitter I am the fewer issues I have with my asthma,” he explains. “I will continue to swim for the rest of my life because I realise that adverse effects that come as a result of not swimming.”

Or the case of New Zealand masters rowing champion Ian Hatton, who believes the health benefits of the sport cannot be understated. “To row you need good balance, you need to use most of the muscle groups and it keeps your joints flexible. It has all the features to keep you healthy.”

4 – World-class event

World Masters Games 2017 represents a golden opportunity to be a part of a truly global event.  With 25,000 athletes from around the world competing across 28 sports and no qualification system in many sports, the quadrennial multi-sports festival according to North Shore Squash member Leigh Hinds it is not one to missed.

“To be part of the World Masters Games 2017 would represent the pinnacle of my time as a sports competitor to date as it represents the gold standard around the world,” says Leigh.

5- Wider New Zealand

Photo courtesy Tourism New Zealand

For many overseas visitors a trip to Auckland is the gateway to the wonderland which is New Zealand. From awesome beaches to stunning mountains the sheer scale and diversity of the New Zealand landscape is truly extraordinary. Given that the event is expected to attract thousands of overseas visitors another motivation for competing here will be the opportunity to take a longer holiday and fully explore this pristine land.

As Dutch-born Kiwi and masters triathlete John Hellemans says: “It (World Masters Games 2017) is not only the chance to compete against the best in the world in your age-group, but it is also a great excuse to visit New Zealand, which is a wonderful country.”

6 – Try something different

With 28 sports on offer within the ten-day duration of the Games there is every opportunity to try a different sporting experience. World Masters Games 2017 ambassador and former New York Marathon winner Allison Roe plans to give the sport of rowing a crack. As 2004 Olympic triathlon champion Hamish Carter says in his role as an ambassador for the event: “The Games are a great chance to experience some other sports and have some jolly good fun.”

7 – Something for everyone

Whether you are a serious athlete with pretensions on gold or you are a weekend warrior competing for pure enjoyment the World Masters Games 2017 truly is an all encompassing event with many sports offering several grades of competition.  

As New Zealand masters badminton star Richard Purser says: “The great thing about the World Masters Games is it caters for everyone whatever the level.”

8 – The friendly Games

Billed as the “biggest multi-sport event in the world” the quadrennial event could just as easily be dubbed the world’s friendliest. The four-yearly competition is always held in an open and welcoming atmosphere and Auckland will be no different. As Sally Gibbs, a New Zealand endurance runner who won four medals the 2009 edition in Sydney, says:  “Everyone is very encouraging and you never feel inadequate.”

9 – Compete with the stars

The World Masters Games 2017 offers a unique chance for ordinary Joes to rub shoulders and compete against a range of ex-world and Olympic champions. Already a number of World Masters Games 2017 ambassadors and New Zealand sporting legends from triathlete Hamish Carter to ex-All Black Bryan Williams have committed to participating at the Games in same capacity. Look out too for the overseas stars descending on Auckland with America’s former world triple jump record holder Willie Banks known as “The Bouncing Barrister” expected to compete.

10 – Social club

A vibrant social scene is one of the hallmarks of the World Masters Games. As New Zealand’s prodigious track cycling masters champion Erin Criglington says of the event: “They are a lot of fun. The whole event has a great atmosphere and a great sense of camaraderie. Everyone is there to have a good time, but also compete hard and enjoy the experience.”