World Masters Games 2017 showcasing Kiwi culture

Athletes from around the world can start planning their travel and training schedules for World Masters Games to be held in Auckland, New Zealand in 2017.

Twenty-eight sports and 45 disciplines have been confirmed into the sporting programme, with eight of those sports offering a para class.

Unique Pacific sports

A feature of the 28 sports is the inclusion of uniquely Pacific sports or disciplines such as waka ama (Māori canoe) within the sport of canoe/kayak and Weta class sailing within the sport of sailing which will give the international event a distinctly Kiwi feel.

This is the first time Weta class sailing has been included in a professional sporting competition.

Created in New Zealand by Rodger and Chris Kitchen of Weka Marine, the Weka is an easily portable trimaran that can be sailed with one to three sails, manned by one to three people, making it an accessible sport for athletes of all ages and abilities.

Waka ama is a culturally significant New Zealand sport that sees competitors take to the water in waka / canoes. Waka ama has roots firmly steeped in Pacific island history and culture but has been thriving in its modern form in New Zealand since the 1980s.

Optional sporting platform

World Masters Games 2017 Chief Executive Jennah Wootten said 16 sports within the programme are core and must be staged but the remaining optional sports offer an opportunity for the host city to bring something new to the table.

"Naturally we’ve woven in sports that are important to New Zealand’s sporting culture - such as rugby, netball and touch - as well as a range of sports that will showcase our stunning beaches, harbours, lakes and waterfront, all of which are a key part of Auckland’s world-class reputation as a beautiful harbour city."

Ms Wootten added that sports such as orienteering and mountain biking will take visitors into some of the region’s beautiful forests and native bush.

Ms Wootten also announced a further four New Zealand ambassadors have agreed to join the inaugural five - Hamish Carter (Olympic gold-winning triathlete), Anthony Mosse (former NZ swimmer) Jenny-May Coffin (former NZ Silver Fern netballer) Garth Barfoot and Susie Simcock - announced as part of the ‘three years to go’ milestone event on 30 April.

The expanded legendary line-up features former All Black Bryan Williams, athletics’ Allison Roe, surf lifesaver Cory Hutchings and football international, Noah Hickey.

"We are extremely fortunate to have such an amazing groups of masters’ sports advocates join our ambassadors team to help us tell the World Masters Games 2017 story here and overseas," said Ms Wootten.

The announcement of the sports codes and disciplines is a major milestone in World Masters Games 2017 planning and delivery.

"We know the contracted sports will form the backbone of a programme that ensures we stage the best Games ever and features all that is great about Auckland and New Zealand."

Sport for all

Peter Miskimmin, Chief Executive of Sport NZ, said the sports selected provide many options for masters athletes, no matter what age or capability, and truly bring to life the ‘sport for all’ ethos.

"We expect masters athletes from around the world will enjoy the chance to try some new sports along with the old favourites," said Mr Miskimmin.

"We will work closely with each of the sports organisations selected and with World Masters Games 2017 to ensure the development of individual sports programmes and their delivery meets the highest standards."

The World Masters Games 2017 is another major sporting event that is helping to showcase New Zealand as a premier sporting destination, following on the heels of the ICC Cricket World Cup and FIFA U-20 World Cup both being staged across New Zealand in 2015.

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