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World Masters Games set to begin

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5 days ago

Around 25,000 competitors from 100 countries have been descending on the city for a 10-day sporting festival starting on Friday. © Facebook/ @WMG2017 Around 25,000 competitors from 100 countries have been descending on the city for a 10-day sporting festival starting on Friday. Bigger than the Olympics in athlete numbers, the World Masters Games is set to begin in Auckland.

Around 25,000 competitors from 100 countries have been descending on the city for a 10-day sporting festival starting on Friday.

Also arriving are 3000 supporters and officials for a programme featuring 28 sports across 48 venues.

Softball will begin proceedings, with canoe sprint, swimming, baseball and badminton also on the day one schedule.

World Masters Games 2017 chief executive Jennah Wootten says the event has been four years in the planning and everything is ready.

International Masters Games Association chief executive Jens Holm says he has been impressed with the preparations.

"Everything points to a wonderful World Masters Games," he said.

The opening ceremony will be at Eden Park on Friday night and athletes will march by sport because they are representing themselves and not their country.

Eleven New Zealanders have been chosen to be standard bearers, including former New Zealand Davis Cup representative James Greenhalgh, who will lead the tennis contingent.

Wellington teacher and basketballer Monica Mercury will read the Athlete Oath on behalf of all competitors, including three-time Olympic athletics champion Sir Peter Snell.

Texas-based Sir Peter, 78, who this week donated two of his Olympic gold medals to Te Papa, is competing with his wife, Miki, in table tennis.

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