World Masters Games registrations close with 27,000-plus participants 

World Masters Games registrations pass 27,000 with one month to go until Auckland’s biggest ever sporting festival opens.

The World Masters Games are just over a month away and event organisers have confirmed that more than 27,000 participants have registered for the games.

Athletes from all over the world will congregate in Auckland, New Zealand, from 21 – 30 April to compete in 28 sports at 45 competition venues. 

While registrations for most sports closed on Friday (3 March), the total number of participants is still likely to rise as there are a several events that will remain open until 31 March. These include the 10km and half marathon, cross country, cycling, triathlon and ocean swims.

The 10,000 New Zealand athletes registered will be outnumbered with 14,000 internationals from 100 countries en route to the games. The biggest contingents are from Australia and Canada. In addition to the athletes almost 3000 supporters and non-playing officials will be involved in the Games.

Preparations to accommodate the massive influx of participants include the opening of a short term campervan park at Auckland’s Ellerslie Racecourse. The pop-up campervan park will provide 350 non-powered sites for self-contained campervans from 18 April – 3 May. 

Along with a warm Kiwi welcome, the organisers are promising to set the tone for the Games with a spectacular opening ceremony at Auckland’s legendary Eden Park – masterminded by the acclaimed New Zealand event producer, Mike Mizrahi and his partner Marie Adams.

WMG2017 Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says the opening ceremony, on the evening of Friday 21 April 2017, will be a defining moment that will set the tone for the ninth edition of the Games, and set apart the host city and country.

“Rugby World Cup 2011 catapulted New Zealand onto the world stage in terms of its ability to host major events with precision and imagination. World Masters Games 2017 is a very different proposition, and involves complexity on a different scale. We’re talking about 28 sports, played across 45 or more venues, in a condensed 10-day period,” Wootten said.

The opening ceremony will bring the unique culture of New Zealand to life in a show that will feature traditional Maori ceremony, cutting edge technology, live performances, and a tribute to the 28 sports of the Games.

In World Masters Games’ tradition, the celebratory athletes’ march will see the competitors parade by sport rather than by nationality, to recognise the bonds between participants as individuals and teams. 

“We’ll be striving to present New Zealand’s story in a multi-layered, innovative Opening Ceremony that exceeds expectations,” Mike Mizrahi says.

“We want to tell a story visually in a way that will captivate the live audience of New Zealand and overseas participants and take them on a journey they won’t forget. We also want to leave them inspired about New Zealand and the days of sports competition ahead.”

World Masters Games: Key facts and figures

Total number of participants registered - 27,058
Total number of athletes – 24,261
Total number of supporters and non-playing officials – 2797 
Age of youngest competitor* – 25 years (swimming) 
Age of oldest competitor* – 101 years (athletics) 
Number of countries represented – 100

World Masters Games: Top participating nations

Australia - 6,966 
Canada - 2,000 
USA - 1,260 
United Kingdom - 462 
Russia - 447 
Sweden - 430 
Japan - 383 
Finland - 323 
Germany - 269 

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.