'Never for me' - till she changed her mind

Zita Menzies shows her style as she gets ready for next month’s New Zealand Masters Games in...
Zita Menzies shows her style as she gets ready for next month’s New Zealand Masters Games in Dunedin. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
It is never too late to get that competitive bug.

Dunedin woman Zita Menzies turned 90 last year so she is well and truly qualified for next month's New Zealand Masters Games.

And after many years of deciding against, she will be a first-time entrant in the games.

She will line up in the 5km walk, and is not aiming to be the tail-end Charlie.

Menzies is into some reasonably heavy training - she got her granddaughter Laura Carruthers to measure out a 5km route around her house and has been knocking up the steps since then.

``I told her what I was doing but she said `that was not enough Nana, you've got to go further than that','' she said.

``So she went on the computer, got it all mapped out and now I know how far to walk.''

Unfortunately, people stopping to talk on the route makes it hard for her to set a time she can aim for.

Menzies, who has been a widow for many years after her husband, Norman, died, said she never had any inclination to enter the Masters Games.

``It was never for me. Not something I ever wanted to do. But I was in Pak'n Save one day and a lady there said I should come along to their walking group. But I like walking on my own so I said no. She said I should put my name down for the Masters Games.

``That wasn't for me but then I came home and thought about it, and thought about it some more.''

Her daughter Pauline Carruthers got involved and before she knew it, her name was on the games entry list.

She was looking forward to the event and just wanted to finish. She also does ballroom dancing in her spare time but said she would not be entering in the dance sports at the games.

The games, set for February 3-11 in Dunedin, are tracking well with entries. More than 4000 have been received, which is ahead of the some time in 2016, the last time the event took place in Dunedin.

There is an increase in number of competitors from the upper half of the North Island, which could be a flow-on effect of the World Masters Games being staged in Auckland last year.

Gymsports and swimming registrations have doubled from 2016 and dance sports is up 36% with nearly 150 competitors.

Ice hockey has 16 teams. That is four more than last time, and includes a Canadian team from the Yukon. It is the first time a Canadian ice hockey team has entered the games.

Netball (58) and football (48) remain the most popular team sports.

Entries are still open in most sports and will remain so until the start of the games.

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