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Superstar's visit . . . Victoria Park was packed out on Boxing Day 1962 when Olympic champion Peter Snell (second left) raced in the Waimate Caledonian Games against visiting American Archie San Romani (far left), of Oregon University.

by Chris Tobin

While other games have fallen away, the long and proud tradition of the Waimate Caledonian Games continues on Saturday with the 143rd running of the event.

“According to our life members, it’s the oldest continually running Caledonian games in New Zealand,” Waimate Caledonian Society secretary Bernie Blackgrove said.

“Waimate has kept going because a group was determined to keep it running, people like Winnie Todd and Howard Chamberlain.

“Howard is in his 90s now. He was a great cyclist when he was young and last year he watched his great-grandchildren competing.”

Long distance . . . Temuka’s Michael Shannon competes in the long jump at the 2017 Waimate Caledonian Games. PHOTO: FILE

She said entries were flowing in but she had no idea how many would be competing in the cycling and athletics events because entries were taken on the day.

“Last year we had 112 children from under 5 to 14 in the track and field and we’re hoping for a good turnout again.

“Some come with their families and compete in other events as well.”

Nearly 40 speed skaters competed last year and another big turnout is expected, as the racing will be part of the Tour of Timaru.

Piping had to be cancelled last year due to a lack of entries, but Mrs Blackgrove hoped this would be back on the programme on Saturday.

The games begin in the morning with children’s athletics, Highland dancing, cycling and speed skating.

A 5km running road race will be held at noon and sports continue in the afternoon. Entry is free.