15 Aug 2013

Last chance Olympics' qualifier at Winter Games

7:03 pm on 15 August 2013

For many of the athletes at the New Zealand Winter Games now underway in Wanaka and Queenstown, it's the last chance to qualify for next year's Winter Olympics in Russia.

Altogether, 750 athletes have come from around the world and event organisers say the fact that it's do or die for some is sure to provide great competition.

With a potential television audience of one billion people, event director Arthur Klap says the biennial games are now considered one of the world's top five winter events.

"The biggest initiative that we've taken this time round is to ensure that we get really good international television coverage."

The 11-day competition is backed by a $1 million contribution from the Government and is expected to contribute $25 million to the economy.

Mr Klap says it's hoped the games will pay for themselves by 2017, with the economic contribution doubling to $50 million.

The 22nd Winter Olympics will be held in the Russian resort of Sochi next February.