Entries rolling in and final overall numbers expected to be up

Entries continue to roll in as the New Zealand Masters Games rapidly approach.

The Games, which begin on February 1, will have more than 60 sports on offer, from archery to wine options — whatever that is.

Although some sports have full fields, plenty still have spaces to fill and organisers are urging those who want to partake to get into the spirit of the competition.

As of late on Monday, there were 4444 entrants in the Games, an increase of 7% from the same time in 2018.

Football is the largest sport by numbers and, for the 2020 Games, there has been a hefty increase of 26% players and 10 more teams taking part, meaning 834 players will line up.

Entries are still coming in so there are expected to be even more teams competing.

Cricket has also added some teams, including a side from Sri Lanka and two teams from Whanganui.

Touch has an additional four teams for 2020 which has so far resulted in a 35% increase in entrants.

Netball is the second-biggest sport and, with entries still coming in, the final number should be on a par with 2018.

There are new sports on the agenda — cornhole and powerlifting — while the half-marathon has returned and nearly 100 runners have registered so far for the 21.1km run.

There are plenty of overseas entries — the biggest group of overseas competitors comes from Australia, an increase of 25% in numbers from two years ago.

Other athletes are coming from Canada, United States, Germany and Sweden.

Entries from within the Otago region have been good and are expected to be above two years ago.

The opening ceremony will be on February 1.

It is the 15th time the Games have taken place in Dunedin, the first edition held in 1992.

The event is shared with Whanganui, the cities alternating every two years.

Numbers have fluctuated over the years but the Games in 2018 showed an increase of competitors although only minor.

In 2018, the number of competitors increased by 14 to 4513 compared with 2016.

The 2014 and 2016 Games in Dunedin experienced declines of more than 10% in competitor numbers.

This year’s Games is expected to pass that.

The event, which is run by the Dunedin Masters Games Trust, at one stage drew more than 10,000 athletes but had dropped off in the past 15 years.

The Games ambassadors are former Silver Fern Jodi Brown and former national cricketer and coach Warren Lees.

The games hub this year will be in the Octagon, with entertainment on offer most nights.

With the Elton John concert and the Queen and Adam Lambert concert on during and after the Games, many have ventured to Dunedin to take part in the Games and also experience the concerts at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

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