Wed, Sep 15, 2021 6:20 PM

SI Masters Games to proceed at Levels 1 and 2

Forty sports will be catered for when the South Island Masters Games are staged in Marlborough next month. Photo Shuttersport

Peter Jones

Organisers of next month’s 2021 South Island Masters Games have assured participants that the event will proceed - as long as the Marlborough region is in either COVID Alert Level 2 or 1.

“The Games are on at Level 2, and even at Level 2 Delta,” said SI Masters Games event director Simon Carter today.

“What that might look like between each sport may differ, depending on the level … but it is only at Level 3 or 4 that the Games cannot be held,” he explained.

“All of our sports remain on. If we are still at Level 2 Delta then some of those sports may require some modification [to fit the guidelines] and our sports co-ordinators are working through all of those potential requirements now.

“At the same time, we are reviewing what can be achieved with our social events.

“But what is exciting, particularly for the region, is that around 2000 participants, spectators and supporters are going to be coming to Marlborough.

“It will be hugely beneficial for the hospitality and retail sectors … it does give the local economy a shot in the arm. We saw that last year in Timaru it generated around 1.5 to 1.6 million dollars of economic benefit to the region over the 10 days and we would expect the same to occur in Marlborough next month.”

Simon said the organising team had “been moving heaven and earth over the last six weeks” to ensure plans were in place for the Games to proceed.

“I take my hat off to the sports co-ordinators. They are all local people, many of whom are still involved in their own local club stuff as well. They have either been thrown a curve ball in having to reschedule, amend or cancel their [winter] club seasons due to COVID or they are trying frantically to get a summer season up and running through all this change and challenge as well.

“For them then to host their sport as part of the Masters Games, as well as everything else, is a credit to them. We want the Games to be fun and hopefully put a little bit of money in those sports clubs’ coffers as well.”

Simon acknowledged that entries had slowed during the uncertain lockdown period but “we are starting to see them pick up again now”.

“People are getting more confidence in the landscape and remember, 90 percent of the people are not there to win medals or break records, they want to catch up with their mates. That could be mates who are part of their team already or people they only see once a year at this event. That’s what’s really cool about it.”

The Games will involve 40 sports at a variety of Marlborough venues from October 15-25. Registrations close on September.

“So if you have been holding off entering, or booking your accommodation, now is the time to do so,” said Simon.