1 May 2017

Masters Games delivers 'world class sporting event'

12:31 pm on 1 May 2017

Players and supporters filled The Cloud on Auckland's Viaduct as the final curtain came down on the ninth World Masters Games last night.

Medal-winners Mihi and Danny Nemani.

Medal-winners Mihi and Danny Nemani. Photo: RNZ / Mihingarangi Forbes

A Māori hoe or paddle was presented to officials from the Kansai region in Japan, which will host the 2021 Games, as athletes from more than 100 countries watched on.

More than 25,000 athletes arrived last week to compete in 28 sports and 42 disciplines across 42 sporting venues.

The lucky ones went home with bronze, silver and gold around their necks.

A Māori hoe or paddle was presented to officials from the Kansai region in Japan.

A Māori hoe or paddle was presented to officials from the Kansai region in Japan. Photo: RNZ / Mihingarangi Forbes

The hoe, which had been prepared by Whaotapu's master carvers, had the Matariki constellation - known in Japan as Subaru - carved into it, as the connection between the two countries.

Japanese drummers from Haere Mai Taiko responded to the challenge from the Royal New Zealand Navy band with a stirring performance.

Japanese drummers gave a stirring performance.

The Haere Mai Taiko drummers give a stirring performance. Photo: RNZ / Mihingarangi Forbes

International Masters Games Association president Kai Holm ended the ceremony by saying New Zealand had delivered the best games ever.

World Master's Games chief executive Jennah Wootten said the experience and success had set a precedent for New Zealand's future sporting calendar.

"We've delivered the Rugby World Cup, the Cricket World Cup, we've now just delivered the largest multi-sport event - I'd love to see a discussion around a Commonwealth Games bid."

Jennah Wootten

Jennah Wootten Photo: RNZ / Mihingarangi Forbes

Ms Wootten said the games' 3800 volunteers hadmade the event seamless.

"We've just delivered 25,000 athletes a world class sporting event across 48 sporting venues over 10 days back-to-back."

A haka at the Masters Games.

A haka at the Masters Games closing ceremony. Photo: RNZ / Mihingarangi Forbes

A total of 16,000 medals were awarded to thousands of athletes.

The only criteria for the World Games is age - so for anyone older than 35 in 2021, the Kansai games beckon.

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