4 Feb 2012

Masters Games set to begin in Dunedin

7:09 am on 4 February 2012

New Zealand's largest multi-sport event, the Masters Games, begins in Dunedin on Saturday.

At least 6000 people are competing this year, but the numbers from Christchurch are well down.

This is the 23rd Masters Games, combining a mix of Olympic sports such as triathlon and weightlifting with more social activities like poker and a wine competition.

Organiser Aaron Joy says participants have come from 14 countries including Sri Lanka and the United States to compete in 70 sports.

The event is based for the first time at a new venue, Otago Stadium, which Mr Joy says has created extra enthusiasm.

However, he says there are only half as many competitors from Christchurch due to recent earthquakes in the region.

The Masters Games officially kick off on Saturday night with an opening ceremony at 7pm and run for nine days.