3 Oct 2017

Nelson's games ready to go

4:35 pm on 3 October 2017

More than 2000 people are ready and set to compete in the South Island Masters Games in Nelson, which open tomorrow.

Rita Merriman

Rita Merriman Photo: RNZ/Tracy Neal

Games manager and Sport Tasman event manager Rita Merriman said more than 40 events were planned, with the bulk to be staged at the multi-venue Saxton Field.

About 13 events including sea swimming, a duathlon, triathlon, golf and cycling will be staged at venues around the region, including its popular beaches.

"We've got beautiful sunny weather planned for the rest of the week, so we're really looking forward to welcoming, so far more than 2000 people.

"With registration opening yesterday we had a good steady stream of people coming in," Ms Merriman said.

She said more than half of those competing were from the Nelson-Tasman region, and about a third from Canterbury with the remainder from Marlborough, Otago and a group from the North Island.

The Nelson City council-backed event was being staged with the help of more than 250 volunteers.

"The council's focus is about getting more events here in the shoulder season, which is exactly what this is.

"After this we get into the annual arts festival and then it starts to feel like summer with all the festivals that brings - it's a really good start to the season where retailers and tourism businesses start to get busier."

Rita Merriman

Volunteers are helping to register more than 2000 athletes set to compete in the South Island Masters Games in Nelson. Patricia Black, left, Tabea Domdey, games organiser Rita Merriman and Vicki Spiers. Photo: RNZ/Tracy Neal

Ms Merriman said even though it was school holidays, and the region was also hosting a number of youth sports events, there was no shortage of accommodation.

She said Masters events were open to people over the age of 30, but some events such as touch rugby and football for women were open to ages 25 and above.

The oldest competitor registered so far is Peter Jenkinson, 89, of Motueka, who is competing in an indoor rowing event.

The Games are to run throughout the week, with registrations open during that time, and end on Sunday.