By Jessica Wilson
Athletes from near and far are taking advantage of the Otago Community Trust New Zealand Masters Games early bird prices.
The reduced early bird entry fee is available for all participants until December 3, before standard pricing takes over until January 13.
Masters Games events co-ordinator Maria Apii said competitors from around New Zealand and overseas had already signed up for the games, which are being held in Dunedin next year, starting on February 1.
Overseas competitors would come from countries such as Australia, India, the United States, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.
“Entries are going really strong,” Mrs Apii said.
There was a misconception accommodation in Dunedin was booked out, but there were still plenty of options available, she said.
She encouraged people to contact the Dunedin i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, which was set up to handle all the accommodation during the games and had access to the city’s halls of residence.
However, some people were opting to bring their caravans and campervans, including games ambassador Warren Lees.
“There’s plenty of options for people,” Mrs Apii said.
“Dunedin is busy but it’s not full by any means and we can cater for the thousands who will come into town.”
There had already been plenty of interest in individual and team sports, including the new event corn hole, she said.
“People are quite intrigued because it’s a little bit different.”
Fun events such as Top Team, the Great Gatsby-themed Twilight 400 and Wine Options were also popular because people did not have to practise or have experience to take part.
If people wanted to compete in a team event but did not have a team, organisers could find them one.
So far, the youngest competitor was a 20-year-old, entered in the open water swim, and the oldest were two 90-year-olds, playing golf and lawn bowls.
“We’ve got all ages.”