World Masters Games 2017 Celebrates Two Years To Go


It will be the largest athletics meet New Zealand has ever seen. Four times the size of the 1990 Commonwealth Games, featuring an estimated 2500 athletes, with some 700 medals up for grabs.

As the largest competition within the World Masters Games 2017 sports programme, athletics is just one sport set to benefit as preparations continue to host the world’s largest multi-sport event for masters age athletes in Auckland. Today marks two years to go until the event kicks off with an Olympic-style opening ceremony on 21 April, 2017.

World Masters Games 2017 Organising Committee Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says the sheer size and scale of the international event has yet to be fully recognised by the host city and country. 

“The last major gathering of athletes from multiple sports was 25 years ago when then 1990 Commonwealth Games hit town.  They seemed big at the time but a quick look at the stats shows just how much bigger the World Masters Games 2017 will be on just about every level.”

“We see this event as a catalyst for New Zealand. A successful Games will demonstrate that New Zealand is capable of hosting a major multi-sport event, and leave each of our 28 sports partners with enduring legacies in terms of capability and methodologies for delivering complex competition formats,” she says.

Chairman of Athletics Auckland, Peter Wyatt, says athletics is a great example of one sport that will benefit given the complexity of the sporting programme, and technical elements required, to deliver the 2017 Games. 

“Planning the seven-day athletics programme, fitting every age category into the schedule and providing international standard equipment and officiating capability, is a huge task. However it’s one we are already working on and excited about,” he says.  “An example is we will need around 200 suitably qualified officials to officiate at what will be the biggest international track and field meet ever held in this country.”  

A national legacy is how Athletics New Zealand Chief Executive Linda Hamersley sees the outcome of the 2017 Games. 

“Athletics throughout New Zealand will benefit from the increased number of internationally-capable officials and major meet organisers. This must and will help the sport in years to come,” says Ms Hamersley.  

Ms Wootten says the two years to go milestone offers an opportunity to reflect on progress, but not for too long. 

“The clock is definitely ticking and we are ever mindful of the technical complexity of running individual competitions for 28 different sports in 45 competition venues across 10 days. Our goal is to deliver on every level a superior Games, both for the many competitors who will travel internationally to compete, and for the good of our reputation as a host nation.”

“As we celebrate two years, we hope people will get behind the Games effort, and start registering their interest – either as participants, officials or perhaps volunteers. We’ll be welcoming athletes from 100 countries to our country for the World Masters Games. We know New Zealanders will welcome these visitors in true kiwi style, and no doubt put up some stiff competition to keep the Games interesting.”

Some comparative facts:

1990 Commonwealth Games

2017 World Masters Games

10 sports across 16 venues over eight days

28 sports across 45 venues over 10 days

Athletics was the largest sport with 42 gold medals awarded (23 men, 19 women)

Athletics will award more than 700 gold medals across track and field, road running and cross country

657 athletes competing in 42 events on the athletics programme

2,500 athletes competing in 68 events on the athletics programme (58 track and field events, four road running events and six cross country events)

One set of heats based on the total number of athletes

Up to 15 age categories per event means the potential for multiple heats for each age group, men and women

One set of throwing implements for men and women

Range of throwing implements, depending on age, gender (for example nine different shot put weights required)