8 August 2017
A star-studded line up of high-profile sports personalities are due in Christchurch as part of next year’s Golden Oldies games.
The Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration will run from 1–29 April 2018, hosting events for rugby, golf, squash, netball, softball, basketball, football, lawn bowls, hockey and golf.
The month-long celebration will be the largest multi-sport event held in Christchurch and aims to attract 10,000 sportspeople, officials and supporters.
It has an impressive line-up of more than a dozen ambassadors, including Steve ‘Coach’ McKean – a man synonymous with New Zealand basketball in the 1970s and 1980s, legendary rugby coach Sir Graham Henry and Australian squash star Sarah Fitz-Gerald.
Rugby is expected to be the largest sport at the games, with teams from as far afield as Russia, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, England, Canada and the United States.
They’ll have the opportunity to do battle for the inaugural Sir Graham Henry Trophy in a new rugby division.
Sir Graham says it is an honour to have the trophy awarded for the first time “in my hometown where my rugby playing days began as a school boy”.
McKean occupies a special place in basketball history as the coach who took the New Zealand Basketball team to its first ever win over Australia.
He is considering putting an “All Stars” team together for the games and hitting the courts as either a coach or player.
“Whatever form my involvement takes you can be assured it will be with one eye on the fun and friendship on and off the courts.”
Fitz-Gerald is a five-times World Open Squash Champion and Commonwealth Games gold medalist and says it is exciting to see squash on the Golden Oldies programme for the first time.
“Events such as masters and Golden Oldies are great for squash as they are a fantastic way to keep people in the sport, whatever their age,” she says.
“[They’re] also a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends and other mad keen squashies like me and take advantage of the opportunity to visit a new destination and take a holiday and explore.”
Other ambassadors include Brendon Pongia (basketball), Todd Blackadder (rugby), Selwyn Maister (hockey), Julie Seymour (netball), Barry Richards (cricket), Mike Procter (cricket), Rod Latham (cricket), Cheryl Kemp (softball), Jo Edwards (lawn bowls), Gary Lawson (lawn bowls), Alan Stroud (football), Sir Bob Charles (golf) and Barry Gardiner (squash).