World Masters Games 2017 has announced that New Zealand will deliver the largest ever Para-Sport programme in the history of the World Masters Games. A total of 11 Para-Sport options for athletes with a disability will be available when the Games take place in April 2017.
Chief Executive of World Masters Games 2017, Jennah Wootten, said it was exciting to make the announcement on the day which marks the United Nation's International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
"Today is the perfect day to make this announcement as we join the rest of the world in celebrating a day which promotes and encourages understanding and awareness of disability. This year's theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is "inclusion matters" which resonates very strongly with the ethos and philosophy of 'sport for all' which is at the very heart of the World Masters Games movement."
The Para-Sport options are archery, athletics, badminton, canoe, cycling, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming, table tennis, tennis and triathlon. All competition will be fully integrated into the planning and delivery of the overall sports programme.
All Para-Sport options will have a classification system in place to ensure fair and equitable competition. This has been developed in partnership with Paralympics New Zealand, representing the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in New Zealand. The IPC is a key partner of the World Masters Games movement globally.
Fiona Allan, Chief Executive of Paralympics New Zealand said it is fantastic to see so many Para-Sport options available to both New Zealanders and international competitors travelling to participate at the 2017 Games.
"There is no doubt Para-Sport has seen a huge growth in terms of public interest and competing athletes since the London 2012 Paralympic Games. With only 278 days to go until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games we hope the performances of Kiwi Paralympians on the world stage will both inspire potential athletes and engage supporters even further as we head towards the World Masters Games 2017, just six months later. We look forward to continuing our great work with the local organising committee of World Masters Games 2017 to both promote the Para-Sport events and provide fair and equitable competition for all athletes involved."
The precise age divisions and format for many of the Para-Sports are currently being finalised and will be announced next week as part of the release of the comprehensive sports schedule.
The ninth edition of World Masters Games will be held from April 21 to 30, 2017 and is expected to attract some 25,000 competitors across 28 sports and 45 disciplines at more than 45 venues throughout the Auckland and Waikato regions. The Games will be the largest event New Zealand has hosted since the Rugby World Cup 2011 and the largest the country will see in the next decade.