Mon, Oct 23, 2023 9:05 PM
The 2023 South Island Masters Games wrapped up in Blenheim today, ending nearly two weeks of sporting competition, companionship and camaraderie.
From October 10-23, around 2000 participants, officials and supporters showed their skills across 21 different sports at a series of different venues. Minimum ages range from 20 at swimming to 50 on the croquet greens.
Although the onus was on having fun, competitive grades were provided in several sports, with medals being dished out for varying levels of achievement.
Event director Simon Carter described the 2023 event, the second to be held in Marlborough, as “really enjoyable”.
“We have had good numbers, especially in individual sports this year, and solid numbers in our teams. What we have seen is that people are still just craving that opportunity to either get away with their mates, challenge themselves in terms of personal bests if it is an individual sport, but ultimately come together with that camaraderie which Masters sport brings.”
Simon said the 2023 event was “quite different” from the initial 2021 Games, which were affected by COVID restrictions. “This time people were able to socialise more easily and it has been quite different in terms of participation as well. We are slightly down [in numbers] across the board but I feel the quality of the competition is higher this time around.
“We are really looking forward to growing on what we have done over the last two editions when we come back in 2025.”
Among many individual highlights, Simon relished the competitiveness that comes around football and also the colour that the netball competition brings.
“Though they may be getting older and slower the footballers’ skill levels are still very high. With the netballers, it is just the colour and enjoyment which they bring. Just seeing that mix of different people come together is always a thrill.”
The social aspect was also to the fore this year, over 500 attending the Oktoberfest Party night at the Marlborough Events Centre on the first Saturday, then the Funky 70s cocktail function at the Vines Village last weekend proving a worthy addition.
The Masters Games concluded at Stadium 2000 and College Park today with the finals of the volleyball and hockey competitions.