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Entrant Stories

Sara Kennard


A passion for swimming leads to friends for life at the New Zealand Masters Games

Fifty-year-old Sara Kennard works at the Makino Aquatic Centre as a swim and aqua instructor so it’s no surprise her chosen sport to compete in at the New Zealand Masters Games in February is swimming.

Sara is no stranger either to the NZ Masters Games – she has attended every one in Whanganui since 1993, and has competed in Masters swimming competitions since 1989.

A swimmer since she was seven, Sara has also competed internationally in Lifesaving, in competitions in both Australia and Singapore.

“I am passionate about all aspects of swimming and what I love about competing at the NZ Masters Games is the good friends I have made over the years both in and out of the water. I love to meet up with likeminded people who have put in the hard yards have seen the benefit for their efforts. I love the atmosphere that is created by the event and it also gives me a chance to do what I love – swim.”

Sara says she would encourage everyone to give the NZ Masters Games a go. “You only live once, and you never know unless you give it a go. In February I’m expecting to have a good time, and not fast times!”

The New Zealand Masters Games, the country’s biggest multi-sport event, is on in Whanganui from 3 to 12 February 2017. Around 6000 competitors are expected to compete across 55 sports.

Rudolph Meltzer

Christchurch 75-year-old blo-karting his way to the New Zealand Masters Games in February

Rudolph Meltzer calls himself a Cantabrian: he and his wife emigrated from Holland in 1968 and settled in Christchurch, Templeton to be specific.

The retired couple share a love of an interesting sport – Blokarting – a sport Rudolph will be competing in for the second time at the New Zealand Masters Games in Whanganui in February. It was a sport that Rudolph didn’t take up until five years ago.

“My chosen sports up until then were shooting and car club activities and sailing. I sailed in Holland from when I was 14 years old. Unlike sailboats, blokarts are drier and always able to be sailed so we chose them!”

Rudolph started Blokarting in 2011 in production class and after six months, moved to performance class. “We sold our trailer sailer, a Noelex 22, adn my wife Louise got a Blokart as well. We are very lucky that our local Blokarting club can use part of the old Wigram airbase to train in. We love the sport because of the likeminded people and the technical side and skills needed to sail Blokarts.”

Rudolph says he also loves the speeds the Blokarts can attain. “We get up to 70kmh in the blokarts and I also enter track days at our local Ruapuna race track in our Mazda MX5 as well for the speed thrill!”

Although he doesn’t expect to win a medal at the NZ Masters Games in February, Rudolph says meeting all the other ‘karters’ is fun.

“Blokarters are one big family worldwide, with over 10 000 members whom
all sport what we call the ‘Blokart smile’.

The New Zealand Masters Games, the country’s biggest multi-sport event, is on in Whanganui from 3 to 12 February 2017. Around 6000 competitors are expected to compete across 55 sports.

Image: Rudolph in action sailing his Blokart to victory

Cambridge Legends

Cambridge athletes reuniting for New Zealand Masters Games

In February 2017, a group of friends will reunite in Whanganui to compete on the football pitch at the New Zealand Masters Games.

Tony McIsaac is one of the ‘Cambridge Legends’, a group of “40 and 50 somethings” who play regularly in the WaiBop Waikato A Division winter senior football competition.

“In the Waikato there is no over 35s or over 45s competition, so we were playing mostly against players in their 20s! We were actually still pretty competitive and since 2007 we’ve won four League Championships and several Cup Competitions.”

Earlier this year the Legends retired, opting for more sedate sporting codes including golf and darts. However, Tony says they couldn’t pass up the chance to play football again at the New Zealand Masters Games in February, the third Masters Games outing for the group.

“Most of us began our love affair with the game as four or five year olds and have played ever since.
The Cambridge Legends was established by a group of well decorated footballers who had retired from serious competition, but wished to carry on playing at more of a social level.

“We would absolutely recommend the Masters Games, especially the team sports with a group of mates. You are a long time sitting on the couch watching sport on the TV, so if you are still able, then why not? We all expect to have sore heads, aching stomach muscles from the laughter and no sleep. Our expectations are low as far as the football is concerned, but every dog has their day and we might just spring a surprise or two,” laughs Tony.

The New Zealand Masters Games, the country’s biggest multi-sport event, is on in Whanganui from 3 to 12 February 2017. Around 6000 competitors are expected to compete across 55 sports. for more details and registration.

June Hyde

New Zealand Masters Games 2017 in Whanganui providing perfect training ground for Northland cyclist June Hyde.

Cycling is in 79-year-old June Hyde’s blood: her grandfather was a keen cyclist, as were her parents, who rode their tandem, complete with sidecar for the children, 150 miles to the seaside for a Sunday outing in their native UK. She remembers her interest in biking starting when she was five.

June Hyde training and competing in preparation for the New Zealand Masters Games in February

“I used to take it upon myself to visit grandma, who lived three miles away. I remember my little legs going like the clappers down the steep hill as three-wheelers are fixed wheel bikes. When I turned up she said “get back home”, so I had to go back the same way I got there – under my own steam through busy roads and steep hills. I joined the Leeds Westfield Cycling Club when I was 16 and we would ride 160 to 200 miles regularly on our Sunday run - rain, hail or snow. We were tough!”

June emigrated to New Zealand in 1962 and presently lives in Dargaville. Her chosen sport for the Masters Games is cycling, although for three years she took up running, competing in her first half-marathon just shy of her 65th birthday.

“After that event I started having knee problems so gave up running and that’s when I went back to cycling. I love the freedom you feel when on the bike. Fresh air and lovely countryside. I say ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’ when it comes to competing in the NZ Masters Games – have a go! The Games attracts all the athletes who think they might win a medal, but also all the athletes who just love the feeling of competing alongside like minded people. I have ridden the Bike The Lake event in Rotorua for three years and love the feeling of competing. With a bit of luck, I may even get a placing in the NZ Masters Games in February! It will be perfect training for the World Masters Games in April.”

When she’s not cycling, June is a writer and her book ‘When the bad times were good’ documents her life growing up during the war years in the poor area of Leeds.

The New Zealand Masters Games, the country’s biggest multi-sport event, is on in Whanganui from 3 to 12 February 2017. Around 6000 competitors are expected to compete across 55 sports.