April 21 marks the beginning of the 2017 World Masters Games, being held for the very first time in New Zealand.
The Games are the world’s largest sporting event and over the 10 days they are on here – mostly in Auckland – around 25,000 athletes from 100 different nations will compete in 28 different sports.
On top of that massive number of active participants, a further 25,000 visitors are expected here to watch the competition.
The event draws in contestants with vastly different skill levels – with age being the only barrier to entry. For all sports, there is a minimum age to be considered a “master”.
Over the 10 days of the Games, we’ll be catching up with the sports stars we’ve featured here and in the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, following their journey to the Games (Jenny-May Clarkson, Susie Simcock, Anna Stanley, Allison Roe, and most recently Lady Raewyn Henry), as well as the newfound sports stars along the way.
WATCH: Three things with Anna Stanley
Join the fun
Jump online and head along to worldmastersgames2017.co.nz to find out if there is an event taking place near you that you can head to as a spectator.
Competitors, visitors or those interested in seeing what it’s all about by joining in on the festive atmosphere are all very welcome to come along to the official Entertainment Hub, on Auckland Queens Wharf.
Each day, there will be a great line-up of cultural activities, music performance and food. Entry is free.
Our Oldest Master
After a break of 59 years since he’d last sat on a bike, the thought of Reg Rye attending a “Have a Go” session at Cambridge’s Avantidrome might have seemed mad. Yet the retired farmer, aged 92 at the time, defied many by completing five laps of the 250m track on his first try and he is now all set to make his competitive debut at the Games, competing in the 500m time trial and 2000m individual pursuit.
Now 95, the remarkable great-grandfather is the oldest male Kiwi participant at the Games and he says modestly of his training, “It is nothing too strenuous. I just do some roadwork and go on the watt bike at the Avantidrome.”
Yet when asked his competitive goals for the big event, the nonagenarian gave a no-nonsense one word answer.
“Winning,” he replied.
The Masters' Oldest Athlete
Man Kaur proves the old adage, it is never too late to start, true.
Encouraged by her son Gurdev Singh, himself a masters athlete, to give athletics a go, the then 93-year-old Indian woman struck gold in the 100m and 200m at the Indian Masters Athletics Championships, and has never looked back.
Now aged 101, Man, who is the oldest participating athletes at the World Masters Games, has won a glut of international medals, including a 100m gold medal in the 100-plus age group, posting a time of 1:21 at the Americas Masters Games in Canada last year.
In Auckland, the determined athlete is entered in the 100m, 200m, shot and javelin, and according to Gurdev, the secret to her success is simple.
“She does not keep an ill will against anyone, she eats only healthy food and likes running,” he says.
Meet the Weekly team
The New Zealand Woman's Weekly team be down at the Entertainment Hub on Queens Wharf on Saturday April 22-23, from 12-5pm, and again the following weekend, Saturday April 29-30 from 12-5pm.
Stop by to see us, put your feet up and relax with the Weekly team. We’ll also have special magazine offers and deals on the day.
We look forward to seeing you there!