Jump in numbers for SI Masters Games

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Timaru is preparing for a huge sporting event, with one section already booked out.
The 16th South Island Masters Games will be held in Timaru from October 7-16.
Spokesman Chris Thomas said the event would be the ninth time it has been held in Timaru, alternating each year between Timaru and Nelson.
Mr Thomas expects about 2800 participants for the games.
‘‘This would be an increase on the 2500 that attended in 2014, but not as many as the alltime record in 2008 when 3400 took part in the games,’’ he said.
So far, 1250 competitors have registered for the games.
Forty-six different sports will be included in the games, ranging from the classic Olympic events such as athletics, swimming, shooting, triathlon and cycling through to events such as netball, hockey, football and softball.
Mr Thomas said the games would also include more unusual sports such as indoor rowing (which several world record holders would compete in), indoor triathlon and petanque.
‘‘Archery has already sold out and has a waiting list,’’ he said.
Fifty-five teams have already registered for the outdoor netball competition, and 15 for the indoor competition.
‘‘Football has 31 teams registered.’’
Mr Thomas said new events this year included fastnet netball and swing ball.
‘‘We’re also staging the Alpine Energy Timaru Pro Darts Masters, a huge darts event where the top four New Zealand darts players will line up against the top qualifiers from the Masters Games tournament.
‘‘This will be a thrilling night of music, entertainment, and thrilling action packed darts.’’